Kanoe the Kazoo

10563140_10152468197359003_3227968646842390272_nAn annual event since 2003, Kanoe the Kazoo and its many hosts work together to offer guided paddle trips along the Kalamazoo River, tributary streams, and local inland lakes to area citizens.  Our mission is to introduce residents and visitors to the beauty and recreational opportunities in our own backyard.  This year we are excited to announce many fun and unique paddle trips from May – September.

Check out the roster below for specific information on each paddle trip.  Grab your kayak or canoe and join us on the river this summer!  (Rentals available for select trips, see full details below).

2017 KANOE THE KAZOO Schedule


Join the Four Townships Water Resources Council for a circle float of Upper Crooked Lake with expert natural history guides.  As part of this trip, you’ll get a demonstration and explanation of the first dedicated boat wash station in SW Michigan.  Participants will use the wash station upon entering and leaving Upper Crooked Lake.  Identification of aquatic invasive species, local species of interest spotted during the float, and natural shoreline protection options will be highlighted.

DATE: Saturday, June 3
START LOCATION: Public access for Upper Crooked Lake off of Delton Road (get directions)
PARKING AFTER BOAT DROP-OFF: Bernard Historic Museum, 200 yards east of put-in at 7135 Delton Rd., Delton MI 49016
END LOCATION: same as start
TRIP LENGTH: Launch at 4:00 PM, 2-3 hour paddle
HOST: Four Townships Water Resources Council, MSU Kellogg Biological Station, Kalamazoo River Watershed Council
CONTACT: Steve Allen, (269) 370-0150 or mail@ftwrc.org
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Naturalist guides on tour, must provide boat and personal flotation device

Join the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council for a leisurely summer paddle along the Kalamazoo River.  We’ll begin the adventure at Merrill Park in Comstock and paddle to Verburg Park in Kalamazoo.  On this trip we’ll talk about the grass-covered former papermill sites and talk about the legacy and impacts from our industrial history.  After the paddle, you’re invited to join the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council for free live music by Kalamusic at Arcadia Ales during their Drink One Down For Your Town fundraiser, where 50% of the day’s tap sales will be matched as a donation to the watershed council.

DATE: Monday, July 3
CHECK-IN TIME: 4:30 – 5:30 PM
START LOCATION: Merrill Park, Comstock (get directions)
END LOCATION: Verburg Park, Kalamazoo
TRIP LENGTH: Launch at 6:00 PM, paddle 1-2 hrs
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Shuttle provided to help spot vehicles to end point at Verburg Park and return to Merrill Park for group launch starting at 6:00 PM
HOST: Kalamazoo River Council, Arcadia Ales, Kalamusic
CONTACT: Jamie McCarthy at (269) 447-1580 or krwc@kalamazooriver.org
RENTAL AVAIL?: Call Lee’s Adventure Sports at (269) 381-7700
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Join us for live music by Kalamusic immediately following at Arcadia Ale’s Drink One Down for Your Town to benefit the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council. Fifty percent of the tap sales from that day will be donated to the KRWC for water trail work.

The Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition invites you to join them on the Kalamazoo River on Saturday, July 22, 2017.  The group will stop at Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo for an early lunch stop and presentations on river-related topics.  Following lunch they’ll push on to the take-out point at D Avenue.

DATE: Saturday, July 22
START LOCATION: Merrill Park, Comstock (get directions)
END LOCATION: D Avenue in Cooper Township
TRIP LENGTH: 3-4 hrs paddling, 6.5 hrs total
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Group will shuttle cars to D Avenue starting at 8:00 AM and will bring you back to Merrill Park for group launch around 10:00 AM
HOST: Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition
CONTACT: Gary at glwager@gmail.com
COST: Free (nominal fee required for parking at D Avenue access point at take-out; lunch available for purchase at Arcadia Ales)
OTHER INFO: Lunch available for purchase at Arcadia Ales.  Group will take out at Arcadia Ales around 11:30 AM and re-launch around 12:45 PM. Download the paddle plan.
REGISTER: Online Registration 

The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy invites you to join them on this relatively short and easy trip ending at Verburg Park on Paterson St.  Those interested in supporting the SWMLC can stop for a pint and bite to eat at Arcadia Ale’s Drink One Down for Your Town to benefit the SWMLC, where 50% of the day’s tap sales will be matched as a donation to the conservancy.

DATE: Monday, August 7
CHECK-IN TIME: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
START LOCATION: Merrill Park, Comstock (get directions)
END LOCATION: Verburg Park, Kalamazoo
TRIP LENGTH: 1-2 hrs
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Shuttle provided to help spot vehicles to end point at Verburg Park and return to Merrill Park for group launch starting at 5:30 PM
HOST: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Arcadia Ales
CONTACT: Miko at SWMLC at (269) 324-1600 or cmdargitz@smwlc.org
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Immediately following the paddle, join us at Arcadia Ale’s Drink One Down for Your Town to benefit the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.  Download the paddle plan.
REGISTER: Online Registration 

Join the Cities of Marshall and Battle Creek, the Marshall Area Conservation Committee, and the Battle Creek Area Clean Water Partners on this scenic stretch of river through Calhoun County. Paddlers can expect to be on the river for around 3-4 hours depending on stops and wildlife viewing. Paddlers will enjoy a complimentary lunch at Historic Bridge Park. Register soon as participation is limited to the first 75 people.

DATE: Saturday, August 12
START LOCATION: Ceresco access point (get directions)
END LOCATION: Paddler’s Grove
TRIP LENGTH: 2.5 hrs paddling, 4-5 hrs total
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Meet at 8:45 AM and shuttle available to get participant vehicles to end point at Paddler’s Grove.  No shuttles after the event!
HOST: City of Marshall and Marshall Area Conservation Committee, City of Battle Creek and Clean Water Partners
CONTACT: Alec at City of Marshall at (269) 558-0337 or aegnatuk@cityofmarshall.com
RENTAL AVAIL?: Yes, contact event host to reserve
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: The group will be stopping for lunch at Historic Bridge Park around 11:00 AM for a free boxed lunch.  Then they’ll paddle on to the end point at Paddler’s Grove. Morning refreshments and lunch provided at no cost, along with a group photo and participant gift. Rentals available, skill level – easy
REGISTER: Online Registration or contact Alec (269) 558-0337

Join the Cities of Charlotte, Olivet, and Village of Bellevue for a fun morning paddle on the Indian Creek.  The nominal $10 registration fee covers the shuttle, T-shirt, and lunch for all participants.  The trip ends at Schrontz Memorial Park for a BBQ lunch.  Download the registration form and mail your check, or call the event organizer.  Check out the event flyer.

DATE: Saturday, September 23
START LOCATION: Schrontz Memorial Park
END LOCATION: Schrontz Memorial Park
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Shuttle will bring you from Schrontz Memorial Park in Olivert to the starting point at V Avenue, then paddlers will float down the river and return to Schrontz Park
HOST: Cities of Charlotte, Olivet and Village of Bellevue
CONTACT: Matt at (517) 231-2324
RENTAL AVAIL?: Yes ($40)
COST: $10
OTHER INFO: $10 registration price includes T-shirt and lunch at end of trip at the park
REGISTER: Download registration form (mail check), or call the event host (517) 231-2324


Join us on various dates throughout 2017 at Krazy for the Kazoo, a series of river cleanup and conservation days. Each year volunteers come together at various locations throughout the watershed to clean up trash and debris, plant trees, and restore the environment. We need your help this year to keep our waterways clean! Visit the Krazy for the Kazoo webpage for more details.
If you are looking for a way to give back to your follow paddlers or help protect the Kalamazoo River, consider a gift of time or money this year. For those who have lots of experience on the water, many of our paddle trip hosts could use extra help keeping an eye on paddlers at various Kanoe the Kazoo events.

Kanoe the Kazoo is supported in part by our many paddle trip hosts, a few local sponsors, and the TMDL committee. This support allows us to offer most of the Kanoe the Kazoo paddle trips at no cost to participants. Consider giving a donation to the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council to support future Kanoe the Kazoo events. Become a River Giver and support important river programming and protection projects. Even a $5 donation per paddler is an important investment in the future of our local water resources.


At certain points and during certain times of the year the Kalamazoo River and its tributaries are prone to flood conditions. It is important to be aware of water conditions before you enter the river. You can search for the daily water conditions of the river at several locations on the USGS National Water Information Website. Click the map to find water gauge stations along the Kalamazoo River and many rivers throughout Michigan. Each station will have current water level, along with average levels as a comparison. Typically river water levels are at their highest in the spring, although any large rain storm can cause water levels to rise rapidly in some areas of the river (and especially smaller tributary streams).
We want everyone to enjoy the Kalamazoo River and our inland water resources in a safe and fun way. It is important to remember you are in charge of your own safety when using the river. There are some important safety reminders in the documents below that we find helpful for individuals and groups looking to enjoy the pure Michigan waters of our state.

Basic “Paddle Safe” tips
Full “Paddle Safe” guidance

Host Resources

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires a Special Event Permit for any public event that is organized on inland lakes and rivers. The permit application must be submitted to DNR 30 days prior to your event. There is no fee to apply. This permit helps make agencies like the DNR aware of large groups on the water and is a good safety measure for our paddle events. Your event might require other permits from the DNR (e.g., if using DNR properties). A link to the DNR recreation permits website can be found below.

Download the DNR River-Use Permit application:

Marine Special Event Application & Permit

Download other DNR permits:

DNR Permits Website

All Kanoe the Kazoo paddle hosts should have each participant sign a liability waiver as part of check-in the day of the event. A parent or legal guardian should sign a form for any minors under their supervision. Download and customize a liability waiver template for your paddle:

Liability Waiver Template

This year we are hoping to collect information after each paddle event on the number of participants, feedback, and future recommendations. All paddle hosts should fill out a post-paddle evaluation form after each paddle event.

Go to the Post-Paddle Evaluation Form

You can also report your participation and post event photos on our facebook page during and after the paddle event.

Visit the Kanoe the Kazoo facebook page.

Help advertise your paddle with Kanoe the Kazoo posters and brochures. We have both digital and paper copies available.

Contact Jamie for brochures, posters, and giveaways (269-447-1580 or krwc@KalamazooRiver.org).

Download promo files:

Poster (PDF)

Kanoe the Kazoo is supported by many local governments, nonprofits, and conservation organizations that have been working for almost 20 years on reducing pollution to our waterways. Please consider recognizing their efforts and support of Kanoe the Kazoo at your event.

Download the “script” to use at your paddle event


Kanoe the Kazoo hosts and supporters provide many resources and volunteer hours to make Kanoe the Kazoo successful each year.  A special thanks to our 2017 supporters:

  • Lake Allegan/Kalamazoo River TMDL Committee and Signatories
  • Battle Creek Clean Water Partners
  • City of Battle Creek
  • City of Charlotte
  • City of Marshall
  • City of Olivet
  • Four Townships Water Resources Council
  • Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition
  • Kellogg Biological Station (MSU)
  • Marshall Area Conservation Committee
  • Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality
  • Schlatter Design, Inc.
  • Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
  • Village of Bellevue
  • Arcadia Ales
  • Lee’s Adventure Sports

Check out other KRWC-related events or chart your own trip down the Kalamazoo River!