With more than 1,000 miles of the national North Country Scenic Trail, continuing development along the Detroit-to-Ironwood Iron Belle Trail, and a 12,500-mile system of state-designated trails enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts of all types, Michigan is cementing its reputation as the nation’s Trails State.

The state is boosting its trails résumé on the water, too, as stand-up paddle boarding and other paddlesports, including kayaking, are among the fastest growing forms of outdoor recreation. A newly opened water trail—the Beaver Island Water Trail in Northern Michigan—offers the unique experience of paddling around an island. The water trail wraps 42 miles around the island in Lake Michigan, sitting about 30 miles off the coast near Charlevoix.

“The island contains an extensive system of hiking, biking and birding trails, making it a great destination for adventurous visitors,” says Jon Allan, Office of the Great Lakes director.

Allan says the water trail plan was developed by Traverse City-based LIAA and the local community, with the support of Michigan’s Coastal Management Program and the DNR.

“Safe landing points were identified in 18 places for paddlers circumnavigating the island, and local officials are working with the DNR to add rustic campsites at some of them,” he adds.

The local community formed the Beaver Island Archipelago Trails Association to increase paddling opportunities, create promotional materials, perform maintenance and add signage. Interpretive signage and programming along the water trail will highlight Beaver Island’s unique history, natural resources and connection to the Great Lakes.

Plan your trip with the Beaver Island water trail paddling guide.

Michigan’s Coastal Management Program has invested nearly $2 million in its water trails initiative since 2012. Connect with the Coastal Management Program online or contact program manager Ronda Wuycheck at 517-284-5040.

Celebrating 40 years in 2018, Michigan’s Coastal Management Program works in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which supports a network of state-federal partnerships protecting America’s coasts.

Press release provided by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Explore Beaver Island

Photo(s) by DNR