Improvements for Elk Rapids Rotary Park

Paddle Antrim and the Village of Elk Rapids are excited to share that construction has started at Rotary Park and a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the commencement of construction is scheduled for Monday, June 17, 2024 from 10:00 – 10:30 am at Rotary Park. 

Paddle Antrim and the Village are grateful for the support received from state and local government, private foundations, and individual donors. Major funding was provided by the Michigan Spark Grant program, Michigan State Waterways Commission, Village of Elk Rapids, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, Jim and Diana Huckle Family Foundation, Elk Rapids Rotary Club, Oleson Foundation, Sue Haadsma-Svensson and Kjell Svensson, Elk Rapids Harbor Commission, Elk Rapids Downtown Development Authority, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Barton J Ingraham & Gail G Ingraham Foundation, The Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation, BlueStone Futures, Gary and Mary Chenoweth, Matt and Deb Knudstrup, Christine Petersen, Karen Simpson and numerous other generous financial supporters.  

Elk Rapids Rotary Park is a key trailhead on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail, an over 100-mile water trail stretching through 12 lakes and interconnected rivers in Antrim, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse and Kalkaska Counties. The Chain of Lakes Water Trail is one of nine state-designated water trails in Michigan and is a collaborative effort between twenty different governmental jurisdictions and non-profit organizations.  

Planned improvements at Elk Rapids Rotary Park include:

  • A non motorized launch, providing the first universally accessible route on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail
  • Improved parking and flow with designated loading/unloading zones, and trailer parking
  • Fully plumbed restrooms with changing station
  • Boat washing station to prevent the spread of invasive species
  • Rain garden with native plants to control stormwater runoff
  • Safe travel to the existing boat channel on Elk River

These improvements were identified as a priority for the Village in their 2018 Recreation Plan.  In 2019, Paddle Antrim and the Village of Elk Rapids began working on a concept design which was finalized in 2021 after extensive public input.  

To learn more about the project, please contact Deana Jerdee, executive director, at 231-492-0171 or

To better understand the scope and history of the project, below is a timeline to-date:

February 2023: Fundraising goal achieved. The Village of Elk Rapids and Paddle Antrim will begin working on project bidding and construction.  

March 2022: The Village Council held a public hearing on their application to the MI DNR Trust Fund Grant for Improvements at Elk Rapids Rotary Park. They also submitted a grant application to the Michigan Waterways Commission. 

November 2021: Paddle Antrim and the Village of Elk Rapids signed a partnership agreement to move forward with improvements to Elk Rapids Rotary Park. 

August 2021: A permit was submitted and approved by Michigan’s Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) Permit to create a path to the existing channel in Elk River. 

March 2021: Based on the input received from the community during the July 2020 input session, a final design and engineering report was approved by the Elk Rapids Village Council.

2020: In July 2020 a design engineering concept was presented to the Village and made available for public input. 

2019: Paddle Antrim and the Village of Elk Rapids began working on a design concept thanks to generous support from the Elk Skegemog Lakes Association, the Grand Traverse Community Foundation FOCUS Fund of Antrim County, Elk Rapids Rotary Club, Village of Elk Rapids and in-kind support from the Gourdie-Frasier and Associates and the Disability Network of Northwest Michigan.

2017: Improvements to Rotary Park were identified in the Village of Elk Rapids 2017 Recreation Survey. Suggested improvements included a universal kayak launch, restrooms, and running water. 

2016: Paddle Antrim completed an Access Site Assessment. In the assessment, Paddle Antrim met with Village of Elk Rapids staff and a primary site plan and recommendations for improvements to Rotary Park was completed. 

Skip to content