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Boardman River Water Trail Public Meeting July 27

Local committee seeks public input on how to best accommodate and promote paddling on the Boardman.

Public input on a water trail planning effort for the Boardman River will be gathered at an open house on Wednesday, July 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the McGuire Room at the Traverse Area District Library, 610 Woodmere Avenue.

A water trail is a designated route along a lake, river, canal or bay specifically designed for people using small boats like kayaks, canoes, single sailboats or rowboats. The trails, sometimes called “blueways,” are the aquatic equivalent of a hiking trail (or “greenway”). Water trails feature well-developed access and launch points; are near significant historical, environmental or cultural points of interest; and often include nearby amenities such as restaurants, hotels and campgrounds.

The Boardman River includes 179 miles of world-class river and tributary streams that drain into Lake Michigan. An estimated 2 million user days are logged on the Boardman River for recreational purposes every year.

At the July 27 open house, the public will be asked to weigh in on goals for the water trail and prioritize new amenities to improve access to the water and ease of use. The evening will kick off with a short presentation on the project beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Boardman River watershed has been the subject of unprecedented levels of community investment aimed at fostering economic development and ecological restoration. The water trail planning project compliments efforts currently underway on the Boardman. While the Boardman River is already used by paddlers, local leaders hope to create a formal water trail that balances the recreational needs of paddlers with the surrounding natural environment. Additionally, they hope to develop better ways to link the river with communities and businesses along the way.  

Funding for the planning effort comes from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP). Grand Traverse County was awarded a grant from CZMP to complete two separate but linked planning efforts. The first planning effort is charged with completing a plan for a terrestrial trail around Boardman Lake. The second planning effort is charged with developing a master plan for a proposed water trail along the Boardman River.

The water trail planning effort is being led by the Land Information Access Association (LIAA), a nonprofit community planning organization based in Traverse City that is dedicated to helping Michigan communities become even better places to live, work and play. LIAA has extensive experience helping communities leverage their recreational assets for economic development. For more information visit www.liaa.org.


Harry Burkholder, Executive Director

Land Information Access Association (LIAA)

(231) 929-3696


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