Signs Installed opening the 99-Mile Chain of Lakes Water Trail
“While the lakes have always existed, the water trail provides the information people need to make decisions on where to paddle,” said Deana Jerdee, Executive Director of Paddle Antrim. “We have worked with our partners to identify 84 access sites and consolidate the information so people know where they can launch, what amenities are available, what distances they will travel and more to help create a quality paddling experience.”
The Chain of Lakes Water Trail offers paddlers access to quaint communities along the trail including Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, and Elk Rapids. These towns all have access points that allow paddlers to easily walk into town to enjoy the plentiful amenities including restaurants, retail stores, outfitters, art galleries and more. “Over the last few years we have seen a steady incline in our paddle sport rentals,” said Patrick Boyd, owner of Paddles and Pedals, located in downtown Bellaire. “Word about the water trail is getting out and with the current pandemic more people are craving access to nature. We love seeing paddlers out on the water enjoying the beauty of the area.”
In addition to the signs being installed, Paddle Antrim has launched a new website with all the Chain of Lakes Water Trail information that paddlers need in order to plan a safe and fun trip. The non-profit is in the final stages of developing a waterproof Paddler’s Guide which will be available for purchase on their website. These tools are meant to help paddlers plan ahead to ensure a fun and safe experience and remind them of safety measures and stewardship.
Paddle Antrim raised $275,000 for the launch of the water trail, which includes the installation of these signs. The non-profit is grateful to Consumers Energy Foundation, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Rosso Family Foundation, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, The Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation and many other donors, partners, and supporters who helped make this project a success.
About Paddle Antrim
Paddle Antrim is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization who uses paddle sports to educate the public about our precious water resources. We support and promote investments in water trail infrastructures that facilitate public access to the waterways. We believe education, increased access, and promotion of our waterways will increase protection as well as enhance the economic vitality of Northern Michigan.
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