Kanoe the Kazoo

10563140_10152468197359003_3227968646842390272_nAn annual event since 2003, Kanoe the Kazoo and its many hosts have introduced thousands of area citizens to the beauty and recreational opportunities in our own backyard.  This year we are excited to announce 14 fun and unique paddle trips from May – October.

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 and fall!  (Rentals are available for select trips, see full details below).

2016 Schedule

Thank you to all who braved the cool weather at the first Kanoe the Kazoo paddle on May 14th. This trip was organized by Cereal City Athletics. Visit their website to check out all of the fun fitness activities they have planned this summer.


Join the Four Townships Water Resources Council for a unique paddle experience on an inland lake in Barry Township.  You’ll access the lake from a private property and tour around learning about wildlife and ecology with the help of a naturalist guide.

DATE: Saturday, June 18, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 8:00 – 8:45 AM
START LOCATION: Private property on north end of Fair Lake; TBA after registration
END LOCATION: same as start
TRIP LENGTH: 2-3 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: returning to put-in site
HOST: Four Townships Water Resources Council
CONTACT: Dr. Kenny Kornheiser, FTWRC@aol.com
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Naturalist guides on tour, must provide boat and personal flotation device
REGISTER: Online Registration Closed

See Allegan’s Bridge Fest from a whole new perspective! Enjoy this morning paddle along the Kalamazoo River starting at Trowbridge Dam. As you near the take-out point at Hansen Park you’ll enjoy a scenic view of the City’s riverfront and bridge from the water. Stay in Allegan that day to enjoy the festivities planned as part of this year’s Bridge Fest! (Note: take-out location could be modified if the new canoe launch at Hansen Park is not complete; check the website for any changes).

DATE: Saturday, June 18, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 9:00 – 9:30 AM
START LOCATION: Trowbridge Dam
END LOCATION: Hansen Park, Allegan
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Participants will help shuttle vehicles to end point and return to Trowbridge Dam for group launch
HOST: Great Lakes Adventure Club, City of Allegan
CONTACT: Kyak Kenneth at TillWePaddle@hotmail.com
RENTAL AVAIL?: First-come, first-serve basis; contact host to reserve
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: End point might be modified slightly due to construction
REGISTER: Online Registration Closed

The Cities of Charlotte, Olivet and Village of Bellevue invite you to a fun paddle event to kick off the summer. Join them at Schrontz Park in Olivet at 9:00 AM where you’ll sign-in and get ready for your shuttle to V Avenue. From there you’ll launch and enjoy a beautiful morning on a leisurely paddle down Indian Creek. You’ll take out back at Schrontz Park for a delicious picnic lunch and share details of the morning’s adventures.

DATE: Saturday, June 25, 2016
END LOCATION: Schrontz Park
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Shuttle will bring you from park to starting point at V Avenue
HOST: Cities of Charlotte, Olivet and Village of Bellevue
CONTACT: Matt at (517) 231-2324 or Rob at (269) 967-6636
RENTAL AVAIL?: Yes ($40)
COST: $10
OTHER INFO: Price includes T-shirt and lunch
REGISTER: Online Registration Closed

MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station is hosting a fun and informative paddle on Lower Crooked Lake in Prairieville Township, a lake with a largely undeveloped shoreline and the site of MSU’s Lux Arbor Reserve. During the paddle you’ll stop for a short hike through the reserve where Dr. Stephen Hamilton will talk about agro-ecological research projects and Dr. Alan Kehew of Western Michigan University will explain how glaciers created the interesting topography. Dr. Kenneth Kornheiser and Kara Haas will help spot birds and other wildlife.

DATE: Saturday, June 25, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 10:00 – 10:30 AM
START LOCATION: Prairieville Township Park, Lower Crooked Lake (13000 Norris Rd, Plainwell 49080)
END LOCATION: Same as start
TRIP LENGTH: 3 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Returning to put-in spot
HOST: MSU Kellogg Biological Station
CONTACT: (269) 671-2360 or karahaas@kbs.msu.edu
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Trip includes a short hike through Lux Arbor
REGISTER: Online Registration Closed

Join the City of Allegan and Great Lakes Adventure Club as they celebrate the new accessible launch at Hanson Park. Those new to paddling can enjoy the adventure of a new sport an say “I did it!” Free kayak demos, lifejackets, and instruction will be available to the public at 4:20, 5:20 and 6:20 PM. A group paddle for more experienced paddlers with their own kayak or canoe will start at 6:00 PM from the same launch.

DATE: Thursday, July 21, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 4:00 – 6:00 PM
START LOCATION: Hanson Park (401 Hubbard St, Allegan MI 49010)
END LOCATION: Same as start
DEMO STARTS: 4:20, 5:20, 6:20 PM
HOST: City of Allegan, Great Lakes Adventure Club
CONTACT: (269) 330-1040 or tillwepaddle@hotmail.com
RENTAL AVAIL?: Yes, free demonstration boats for beginners
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: If you plan to join the group paddle, but sure to bring your own boat and lifejacket
REGISTER: Online Registration Closed

The Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition is once again guiding a paddle trip along the Kalamazoo River as it meanders through Kalamazoo County. The trip begins in Comstock at Merrill Park. After about one hour, the group will stop at Arcadia Ales for an early lunch and conversation about river issues and the people working to clean up old pollution. Then the group will continue to D Avenue in Cooper Township.

DATE: Saturday, July 23, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 9:00 – 9:30 AM
START LOCATION: Merrill Park, River St and Comstock Ave in Comstock
TRIP LENGTH: 3-4 hours (depending on lunch stop)
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Participants will help shuttle vehicles to end point and return to Merrill Park for group launch
HOST: Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition
CONTACT: Gary at glwager@gmail.com
COST: Free (participants cover cost of lunch)
OTHER INFO: Option to end at Verburg Park in Kalamazoo (just 5 minutes past Arcadia Ales)
REGISTER: Online Registration Closed

**CANCELED** This event has been canceled due to low water levels on the Kalamazoo River from Homer to Albion.

Paddlers will begin their journey in Homer and travel eight miles until they reach Albion. Along the way paddlers will come across a small rapids, beautiful wildlife, and wide, slow flowing river.  Be sure to pack as many snacks and drinks as needed for the trip. Remember, what you pack in, you must pack out at the end of the day. And don’t forget the sun screen and bug spray!

DATE: Saturday, July 23, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 7:45 – 8:00 AM
START LOCATION: Grist Mill Park in Homer
END LOCATION: American Legion in Albion
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Shuttle back to Homer will be available at American Legion
HOST: Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce
CONTACT: (517) 629-5533 or president@greateralbionchamber.org
RENTAL AVAIL?: Yes (canoe $35, kayak $25)
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Lunch provided at American Legion
REGISTER: Canceled

Join the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy on a guided paddle trip along the Kalamazoo River. This trip offers a unique opportunity to participate in Kanoe the Kazoo on a week night. This relatively short trip will end at Arcadia Ales for their “Drink One Down for Your Town” event, where a portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy and their important mission to protect great natural places in our region.

DATE: Tuesday, August 2, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 5:00 – 5:30 PM
START LOCATION: Merrill Park, Comstock Ave and River Ave in Comstock
END LOCATION: Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Drop off equipment at Merrill Park, drive to Arcadia Ales, and a shuttle will be provided back to the park
HOST: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
CONTACT: conserveland@swmlc.org
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Option to end at Verburg Park, a public city park with free parking
REGISTER: Online Registration Closed

Join the City of Portage Department of Parks and Rec, Lee’s Adventure Sports, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center for a leisurely Saturday morning float led by a KNC naturalist.  Take time to practice your paddle skills while watching for birds and other wildlife.  Bring your own kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board (SUP) or try one out, courtesy of Lee’s Adventure Sports.  Limited demo boats/boards available.  Please call 381-7700 to reserve one.  This paddle offers a fun and unique way to experience Ramona Park–on the water at Long Lake!

DATE: Saturday, August 6, 2016
END LOCATION: Same as start
TRIP LENGTH: 2 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Returning to put-in spot
HOST: City of Portage, Lee’s Adventure Sports, Kalamazoo Nature Center
CONTACT: City of Portage Parks & Rec (269-329-4522 or email) or Lee’s Adventure Sports (269-381-7700)
RENTAL AVAIL.?: Yes (contact Lee’s Adventure Sports directly to reserve)
COST: Free
OTHER INFO:  Did you know the City of Portage is split into two separate watersheds?  Streams and lakes in the northern half of the city drain to the Kalamazoo River while those in the southern half drain to the St. Joseph River.  Do you know where the water of Long Lake eventually drains to?
REGISTER:  Online Registration Closed

Join the Cities of Marshall and Battle Creek and the Office of the Calhoun County Water Resources Commissioner on this scenic stretch of river from Marshall to Emmett Township. 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 and gift bag at Historic Bridge Park. Register soon as participation is limited to the first 75 people.

DATE: Saturday, August 13, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 8:00 – 9:00 AM
START LOCATION: Saylor’s Landing in Marshall
END LOCATION: Historic Bridge Park in Emmett Township
TRIP LENGTH: 3-4 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Drop off equipment at Saylors Landing, drop off vehicle at Historic Bridge Park, and a shuttle will be provided back to Saylor’s Landing
HOST: Marshall Area Conservation Committee, Battle Creek Clean Water Partners
CONTACT: cvosburg@cityofmarshall.com
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Registration limited to first 75 people; lunch provided at Bridge Park
REGISTER:Online Registration Closed

Join the Great Lakes Adventure Club as we “Explore the Marsh” where you’ll be led through the Ottawa Marsh, a side channel off the Kalamazoo River northeast of Fennville.  First time paddlers will want to pass through Tim’s Tunnel as an initiation ritual.  Repeat paddlers will want to pass through the tunnel just because it’s there.  Help us find Witch’s Hair, the Back Door, and the Side Gate.  Bring a brown bag lunch as we’ll be stopping at the Log Jam or Picnic Beach for lunch.  We’ll also check out Mooning Tree, Eggert Bayou, and Eagle Basin.  Read more… (full paddle plan)

DATE: Saturday, September 17, 2016
CHECK-IN TIME: 9:30 – 10:30 AM
START LOCATION: Main Ottawa Landing Public Access Site (read full directions)
END LOCATION: same as start
TRIP LENGTH: 2.5 – 3 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: none; return to launch spot
HOST: Great Lakes Adventure Club
RENTAL AVAIL?: Limited quantity, contact host
COST: None
OTHER INFO: bring a brown bag lunch, life jacket, boat, snacks, and water; paddle plan may be modified due to weather, water conditions, or group dynamics
REGISTER: Must contact host directly at TillWeDance@acd.net or call (269) 330-1040

Due to severe weather in August, we’re happy to welcome the first ever Kalamazoo Eco Raft Race to the list of events this fall. Register a team to construct and race a vessel made out of recycled materials down the river.  Cash prizes to be awarded in three categories. Don’t have time to build a team and vessel? Bring your own canoe or kayak and follow the racers on the Kalamazoo River.  Bring in enough trash collected from the river and you will receive a complimentary beverage from Arcadia Ales.  **New** we’re partnering with Krazy for the Kazoo river cleanup and looking for volunteers to help us pick up litter on foot along the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail after the Eco Raft Race.  Volunteers will receive a gift bag and are encourage to join the after-party at Arcadia Ales.

DATE: Saturday, October 1, 2016
START LOCATION: Mayors Riverfront Park
END LOCATION: Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo
TRIP LENGTH: < 1 hour
HOST: City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Dept.
CONTACT: (269) 337-8191
COST: Variable, see registration form
OTHER INFO: Visit Kzoo Parks Facebook or Website
REGISTER: Download Form or More Info

Join the Great Lakes Adventure Club for a fall paddle on the Kalamazoo River in Allegan County.  This scenic paddle will take you 9 miles down the Kalamazoo River, including 5 miles through the Ottawa Marsh in the Allegan State Game Area.

DATE:  Saturday, October 22
CHECK-IN:  10:00 AM
START LOCATION:  Pipeline Landing, 4620 126th Ave., Fennville MI (follow 2-track north to landing)
END LOCATION:  New Richmond Bridge Park Landing, 5730 Old Allegan Rd., Hamilton, MI)
TRIP LENGTH: 3 hours (closer to 5 hours including vehicle spotting)
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE:  Group will caravan to stage vehicles at take out and return to Pipeline Landing for launch around 11:25 AM
HOST:  Great Lakes Adventure Club
RENTAL AVAIL?:  Limited rentals available, contact host
COST:  FREE (exludes parking fees at some public access sites)
OTHER INFO:  Caravan leaves at 10:15 AM to stage vehicles at park near Hamilton, drive back to launch from 10:40 AM – 11:15 AM, launch at 11:15 AM and paddle down river arriving at New Richmond Bridge Park around 3:30 PM
REGISTER:  Contact the Great Lakes Adventure Club to sign up at TillWeDance@acd.net or (269) 330-1040.


Join us on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Krazy for the Kazoo, our annual river cleanup and conservation day. 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 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 Special Events Permit application:

PR-9204 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 (269-978-4606 or krwc@KalamazooRiver.org).

Download digital files:

Brochure (PDF)
Poster (PDF)
Poster (.jpg)

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 2016 supporters:

  • Lake Allegan/Kalamazoo River TMDL Committee and Signatories
  • Allegan Conservation District
  • Battle Creek Clean Water Partners
  • Calhoun County Visitors Bureau
  • Calhoun County Water Resources Commissioner
  • City of Allegan
  • City of Battle Creek
  • City of Charlotte
  • City of Marshall
  • City of Olivet
  • City of Portage
  • Cereal City Athletics
  • Four Townships Water Resources Council
  • Great Lakes Adventure Club
  • Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce
  • Kalamazoo Nature Center
  • Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Dept.
  • Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition
  • Kellogg Biological Station
  • Lee’s Adventure Sports
  • Marshall Area Conservation Committee
  • Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality
  • Schlatter Design, Inc.
  • Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
  • Village of Bellevue

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