While out on the water this year we heard so many great stories. We heard from a gentleman who returned to the Chain of Lakes for the first time in fifty years to visit the lake where he spent countless summers at as a child. We heard from paddlers who traveled to participate in the Paddle Antrim Festival having never before been to northern Michigan. We heard from a couple that traveled to the Festival and who got engaged while participating in the event. We heard from experienced paddlers who were proud to complete the 42-mile paddle route at the Festival in September. We heard from community members who are not paddlers who joined the Final Bash in Elk Rapids and shared their excitement about the event and our mission.
Your stories matter to us, and we love to hear them!
Your connection to the Chain of Lakes waterway is why we exist. Like you, we are passionate about the opportunity to protect water quality and connect with nature. Like you, we are proud of the character, people, and businesses in Elk Rapids, Ellsworth, Bellaire, Alden, and Central Lake, and we want to let more people know about these places and how to enjoy them. We are excited to create opportunities for people to get out on the water and have fun. Your support and participation translates this passion and our mission into action.
This year, we celebrated several outcomes and impacts:
- The Paddle Antrim Festival in September saw a 50% increase in participation from last year. 76% of these paddlers traveled to the Festival from outside of our region.
- Over 400 paddlers, friends, and local residents participated in Festival events all weekend long.
- We launched a community paddle series and invited all types of paddle crafts and individuals to join us on the water this year. Almost 100 people gathered for fun-filled evenings throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
- We continued the Ripple Effect grant program, which supports mission-focused work led by other non-profits and governments whose work complements Paddle Antrim’s water access, water quality education, and stewardship goals. To date, we have invested over $6,000 in mission-focused projects.
- We led the process to create a Water Trail Plan for the Chain of Lakes waterway. To date, 14 units of government and non-profit access site owners have approved a total of 74 sites for inclusion on the water trail. Our goal is to work with businesses, organizations, supporters, and champions so we can create, manage, and maintain a premier water trail within the State of Michigan. Our board of directors will review and approve the Water Trail Plan in December. We look forward to unveiling it in 2017, and sharing a plan for access sites, routes, signage, marketing, and water trail stewardship.
With just two years of service as a non-profit under our belts, we are excited about all that has been accomplished with your support and encouragement. We ask you to join us to continue the momentum.
We have an exciting opportunity to double all donations between now and the end of the year. A generous donor will match all donations from new or existing donors up to $15,000 that are made before the end of the year. Please help us take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to double your impact today. Your gift will help continue efforts to provide access, education and stewardship of the Chain of Lakes waterway, and will help to kick-start efforts to implement the Water Trail Plan.
You can donate securely at paddleantrim.com/donation, or by sending a check made out to Paddle Antrim to PO BOX 205, Bellaire, MI 49615.
Your leadership is so important to these efforts. Thank you so much for your support.
With sincere thanks,
Deana Jerdee, Executive Director
P.S. When you make a gift of $1,000 or more, you become part of Paddle Antrim’s Sustainers Circle. Learn more about how you can become a Sustainers Circle supporter at paddleantrim.com/sustainers.