Bellaire, Mich. — Northern Michigan’s largest craft brewery, Short’s Brewing Company has announced this morning that the annual Short’s to Short’s Paddle will not be held in 2014, but will likely return in 2015.
The Short’s to Short’s Paddle has been run by Short’s Brewing Company for five consecutive years (2009-2013). It is a 27-mile point to point kayaking event spanning Antrim County’s Lower Chain of Lakes from the Short’s brewpub in Bellaire to the Short’s production facility in Elk Rapids. After five years, Short’s Brewing Company decided to take a new approach to the future of the event. Short’s sees running such an event as being prohibitively difficult while simultaneously upgrading both its production brewery and expanding the Bellaire brewpub.
The Short’s to Short’s, which has outgrown anything Short’s ever imagined, has garnered a great deal of support from local chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations, who, together with Short’s, plan to establish a new non-profit group to host the event in future years. The new organization, tentatively called Paddle Antrim, will support paddle sport activities on the Antrim County Chain of Lakes.
This announcement comes in the same year that the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) is establishing this route as part of its Chain of Lakes and East Grand Traverse Bay Water Trail. This trail will include the same route used in the Short’s to Short’s Paddle and will be the non-motorized boat equivalent of a hiking trail. Well-developed launch points, nearness to points of interest, and access to amenities will all be effects of the designated water trail.
Over the next few months, GTRLC will be working with government officials, local businesses, and other partners to create maps that will show public water trail launch sites and trail routes from Ellworth to Elk Rapids as well as along East Grand Traverse Bay. Megan Olds, GTRLC’s Associate Director says, “Short’s annual paddling event and their support for the work of public and private partners to develop a water trail in the Chain of Lakes has made a huge impact.” Volunteers and government officials have been contributing information about access points and trail features and experiences.
Olds says that GTRLC is still looking for help from people who care about this waterway and want to provide input. There are forms on GTRLC’s website where paddlers can provide information about public launch sites or routes they like to paddle. GTRLC is also accepting photographs. To learn more about the water trail project, get involved as a volunteer, or learn about GTRLC’s water quality protection efforts and other ways you can help, please visit GTRLC’s website at http://www.gtrlc.org/preserves/trails/water_trail/.
“Although we are sad to take a year off from the event, this announcement comes at an exciting time for paddling enthusiasts. The interest that this event has brought to our beautiful lakes and rivers has helped to establish a water trail that will allow paddlers to enjoy these waters at their leisure, with additional access and infrastructure” says Matt Drake, COO at Short’s. “That being said, we are excited to bring the event back in 2015.”
Despite the postponing of the Short’s to Short’s Paddle for one year, Short’s will still be hosting their annual Summer Kickoff Party, which has to this point been connected with the paddle event. That party will take place at the Short’s production facility in Elk Rapids on May 17th, 2014. More information can be found at www.shortsbrewing.com/events/summer-kickoff.