This August three men, Joe Lorenz, Kwin Morris and Jeff Guy, plan to paddleboard the Chain of Lakes all in an effort to raise awareness of Great Lakes environmental issues and also the Chain of Lakes Water Trail. They’ll begin their adventure at Six-Mile Lake near Ellsworth Michigan and end it at Elk Rapids Dam. The 60-mile trip is expected to take about 20 hours.
While the Chain isn’t reputed to be as cold or treacherous as the five Great Lakes, it still has dangers.
“You’ll have a current, boat traffic, and a route that changes north to south several times,” says Kwin Morris. “We’re comfortable in 2-3 foot waves, but we want to avoid larger waves as much as possible.”
Their first crossing was Lake Michigan in 2015, a 60-mile and just under 25-hour journey in 38-degree water. They raised $10,000 for the Great Lakes Alliance. In June 2017 they crossed Lake Huron and raised $7,000 for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Their 90-mile paddle journey took over 28 hours to complete. Last summer they paddled across Lake Superior in 21 hours. Their 60-mile trip began at Sinclair Cove, Ontario and ended at Whitefish Point, Michigan and raised $15,000 for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Their fourth journey was a 70-mile Lake Erie crossing that raised 17,000 for the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research.
They had plans to cross Lake Ontario in June but was shut down due to COVID-19 and having the Canadian border closed.
Each paddleboarder carries all of his supplies on his own paddleboard: food, extra clothes, and straws that filter drinking water from the lake. They have taken precautions, such as having a safety boats follow them with an emergency medical technician on it. They are also bringing Photojournalist Corey Adkins with them to capture the event. “Corey is our master storyteller, so it’s great he’ll be there with us again,” says Guy.
Normally, the group paddles alone, but for this journey they are inviting the public to join for sections of the paddle. “We ask that a person donates and joins in! We want people to feel comfortable on the water trail, so they do their part in protecting it as well,“ says Lorenz. More information about where and when to meet the guys can be found on their social media pages.
The men researched the Chain of Lakes to decide where to donate the money they will raise. They spoke with Deana Jerdee, Executive Director at Paddle Antrim. Paddle Antrim is a non-profit organization, founded in 2014, with a mission to protect water resources in the Chain of Lakes in Northern Michigan by using paddle sports to connect people to these waterways. Through stewardship, education, improved water trail access, and promotion of our waterways we will increase water resource protection and enhance the economic vitality of the region.
“Our overall goal is to help keep the Great Lakes awesome,” says Jeff Guy. “Our hope is that people will join us in donating to this great cause.”
The whole reason we are called Stand Up for Great Lakes is although we believe THE Great Lakes are awesome, Michigan is full of other “great lakes” and this water trail highlights them.
For more information or to make a donation, visit StandUpForGreatLakes.com and follow the team on Facebook.com/StandUpForGreatLakes and on Instagram.com/StandUpForGreatLakes. Watch the award-winning documentary about their Lake Superior Crossing at https://youtu.be/4MxhGhwzwYc.
About Jeff Guy: Guy, 33, is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch. He also enjoys golf, hockey and fishing. He lives in downtown Traverse City.
About Joe Lorenz: Lorenz, 33, is a personal trainer in Traverse City. When he’s not helping people achieve their fitness goals, he’s up for almost anything involving water, travel, adventure, fitness, or beer.
About Kwin Morris: Morris, 31, was born and raised in northern Michigan, making him a keen waterman, traveler, and adventurer. He is a middle school science teacher in the Elk Rapids School District.
About Corey Adkins: Adkins is the Special Projects Executive Director for 9&10 News based in Cadillac. A gifted storyteller, Adkins has won several awards for the 'Crossing Superior' documentary which was recently nominated for 2 Emmys. In 2018 he won “Best Documentary” from the Associated Press and Best News Special and Special Interest Programming for his filming of the Huron crossing. He also won a 2015 award on a commemorative Edmund Fitzgerald production.