On August 1st, Stand Up for Great Lakes paddlers Joe Lorenz, Kwin Morris, and Jeff Guy traveled 50 miles on paddle boards along the Chain of Lakes Water Trail. They recently announced that through these efforts, they raised $13,000 for Paddle Antrim a non-profit is working to protect the Chain of Lakes and host of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.
Stand Up for Great Lakes, who is also a non-profit organization, is most well-known for their crossing of the Great Lakes. Their first crossing was Lake Michigan in 2015, followed by Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and Lake Erie. Each crossing raised money for a local group working on protecting the local water they paddle. The Chain of Lakes Water Trail paddle deviates from their typical Great Lakes crossing but it still brought challenges to the group as they made their journey.
Over 50 paddlers joined the paddlers along the way and they were cheered on by hundreds of boaters and people gathered at the shore along the way. “This one was so unique,” says Kwin Morris of Elk Rapids. “Normally we are all alone out there but it was so awesome to have people join us for this one. It showed how much people care about the Chain.”
The support of paddlers and people cheering along the way brought much needed morale as this paddle was a big challenge. The early morning brought glassy water and an eerily beautiful fog. As the day went on the wind picked up and the paddlers were stuck with a head wind for nearly 6 hours. Boat traffic and congestion on Torch brought a different kind of challenge altogether. Four-foot waves on Skegemog and Elk Lake knocked them around but they persevered to the end. “…Coming into Elk Rapids with an epic sunset and seeing all of the people cheering us in made it all worth it.” said Jeff Guy.
Paddle Antrim will use these funds to continue enhance responsible water access on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail and protect these lakes and rivers. “We are extremely grateful to Stand Up for Great Lakes. We love their mission and enthusiasm for keeping our lakes pristine and are grateful that they have chosen to benefit Paddle Antrim and raise awareness of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail,” said Paddle Antrim Executive Director, Deana Jerdee.
For more information on Stand Up for Great Lakes go to www.standupforgreatlakes.com.