Chain of Lakes Water Trail

We want to share this information with all our members and friends:

Paddle Antrim is leading the effort to create and market a new non-motorized water trail through the Chain of Lakes. A water trail is a designated route along a river, lake, canal or bay specifically designed for people using small, non-motorized boats like kayaks, canoes, single sailboats or rowboats. These trails are the aquatic equivalent to a hiking trail.

Water trails offer many benefits including encourage healthy lifestyles, foster a strong sense of community and place, provide an opportunity for social interaction, encourage preservation and protection of local waterways, and positively impact the local economy.

Many significant shore lands have already been protected as parks and natural areas within the Chain of Lakes which are great assets for a water trail.  In 2014, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy developed an inventory of potential access points for the water trail, as well as information on potential paddling routes and points of interest.  We appreciate being able to use this information as a foundation to continue moving the project forward.

Right now we is seeking official endorsement of public access points for inclusion in the water trail from the units of government who own the launch sites. They will develop a water trail plan by the end of the year which will include a final map showing the access points and identifying a variety of trail routes, including their level of difficult as well as a list of recommended future improvements which may include better parking areas, universally accessible kayak and canoe sites, enhanced restroom facilities, signage, and places to clean watercraft to discourage the spread of invasive species.  We look forward to sharing this plan with you and others who share an interest in these amazing waters for your consideration. We will continue to work with a long list of public and private sector partners to develop the new water trail.

Paddle Antrim is deeply committed to the stewardship of the waterways. We are excited about the opportunity to integrate information about water quality protection and stewardship into the planning and marketing effort for the water trail. With the support of many partner organizations, we will prioritize information on invasive species and other concerns into our marketing materials.  We hope to develop and install some modest signage at strategic access points along the route that provides information about ways that recreational users can support and sustain on-going efforts to preserve and manage lands and shorelines to maintain high water quality. This includes sharing information about the on-going efforts and leadership of local watershed groups, lake associations, and others and their important water quality monitoring and protection work.

To learn more, please contact Deana Jerdee at or 231-492-0171 or find us on the web at

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