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 June – 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).  All trips include Kanoe the Kazoo swag (i.e., sunglasses and stickers) and some instruction on local ecology or pollution issues facing the community.

2018 KANOE THE KAZOO Schedule


The City of Plainwell invites you to discover the Kalamazoo River from the shore of Fannie Pell Park in Plainwell to the Jewell Street access site in Otsego.  This section of the river offers relaxing recreational paddling for all including beginners & children.  Let the current take you through parts of the river that feature beautiful vegetation & wildlife!  An update on planned river enhancements for this region will be featured at the launch and the end of the float.

DATE: Monday, June 25
CHECK-IN TIME: 5:30 – 6:30 PM
START LOCATION: Fannie Pell Park (get directions); short grassy carry to the river; overflow parking available east of park in city parking lot.
END LOCATION: Jewell Street access site in Otsego
TRIP LENGTH: Launch at 6:30 PM, 1 hour paddle
HOST: City of Plainwell, Plainwell Kayak Company, Otsego Plainwell Area Chamber of Commerce
CONTACT: Lois at Plainwell Kayak Co, (269) 365-2926 or plainwellkayakcompany@gmail.com
RENTALS AVAIL?: Yes, single kayak $25 & tandem kayak $40
COST: FREE to participate if bringing your own boat; free shuttle service from Jewell Street Otsego to Plainwell; contact Plainwell Kayak Company for rentals (fee applies); food available for purchase.
OTHER INFO: A speaker will update us on the history of the clean-up on this route as well as future plans for the area.
REGISTER: Register online

Join the Four Township Water Resources Council for a float on Gull Lake.  As park of this trip, you’ll get a demonstration and explanation of the dedicated boat wash station at Prairieville Township Gull Lake Park.  Identification of aquatic invasive species, local species of interest spotted during the float, and natural shoreline protection options will be highlighted.

DATE: Wednesday, June 27
CHECK-IN TIME: 5:00 – 5:30 PM
END LOCATION: Prairieville Township Gull Lake Park (15475 M-43, Hickory Corners, MI 49060)
TRIP LENGTH: Launch at 5:30 PM, paddle 3 hrs
HOST: Four Township Water Resources Council, Gull Lake Quality Organization, Prairieville Township Park Commission
CONTACT: Ken at (269) 330-1097 or ftwrc@aol.com
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Entrance fee for the park will be covered by the host organization
REGISTER: Register online

The Allegan Conservation District and the Great Lakes Adventure Club invite you to join them on this fun 9-mile paddle.  Bring a lunch to enjoy on the river.  The paddle will end at Hanson Park along City of Allegan’s waterfront.

DATE: Saturday, July 7
START LOCATION: Trowbridge Dam access site (get directions)
END LOCATION: Hanson Park (401 Hubbard St., Allegan, MI – behind Griswold Auditorium)
TRIP LENGTH: 3.5 -4 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Group will shuttle cars to Hanson Park leaving at 10:15 AM sharp; arrive early to get your boats and gear unpacked.
HOST: Allegan Conservation District, Great Lakes Adventure Club
CONTACT: Tori at (269) 673-6940 or Kenneth at (269) 330-1040
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Paddle plan may be modified due to weather or water conditions or group dynamics.
REGISTER: Register online (coming soon)

The MSU Kellogg Biological Station will host a paddle on Lower Crooked Lake with a short hike through Lux Arbor Reserve.  The property is owned by Kellogg Biological Station and serves as a research area.  The paddle with include instruction on the ecology of Lower Crooked Lake and Lux Arbor from Dr. Stephen Hamilton.

DATE: Saturday, July 28
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
HOST: Kellogg Biological Station
CONTACT: Misty at (269) 671-2402 or klotzmis@msu.edu
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: The parking fee at Prairieville Township Park will be covered for all participants thanks to the Kellogg Biological Station.
REGISTER: Register online (coming soon)

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 to pre-register.

DATE: Saturday, August 4
START LOCATION: Marshall Public Services Building
END LOCATION: Historic Bridge Park
TRIP LENGTH: 3 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Drop off boats and gear at Public Services Building by 8:30 AM, drive to Historic Bridge Park and a bus will be available to take you back to the start location.
CONTACT: Elizabeth at (269) 966-3355 or egpaul@battlecreekmi.gov
RENTAL AVAIL?: Yes ($30 for kayaks, $35 for canoe)
COST: FREE (except for rentals)
OTHER INFO: Free lunch and other Kanoe the Kazoo swag thanks to sponsorship by the Kalamazoo River Community Recreation Foundation.
REGISTER: Call the event host at (269) 966-3355

Join the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council for a fundraiser on the river ending at Arcadia Brewing for live music and local craft beer.  We are excited to be participating with Arcadia Brewing for their Drink One Down for Your Town event where half of all tap sales for the day will be donated to the Watershed Council.  We will float down the Kalamazoo River past former papermill properties and landfills discussing the ongoing restoration of the river. We’ll end with live music at Arcadia Brewing from the band Kalamusic!

DATE: Monday, August 6
CHECK-IN TIME: 5:30 – 6:00 PM
START LOCATION: Merrill Park, Comstock (get directions)
END LOCATION: Verburg Park, Kalamazoo
TRIP LENGTH: 1 – 1.5 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Arrive by 6:00 PM to catch the last shuttle to Verburg Park to drop your vehicle off at the end location and catch a ride back to Merrill Park for the 6:30 PM launch.
HOST: Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, Arcadia Brewing, and Kalamusic
CONTACT: Jamie at (269) 447-1580 or krwc@kalamazooriver.org
RENTAL AVAIL?: Yes, contact Plainwell Kayak Company at (269) 365-2926 or PlainwellKayakCompany.com
COST: Free
OTHER INFO: Participation is limited to the first 50 people who pre-register.  Can’t join us on the river?  Feel free to visit us any time that day at the brewery as part of Drink One Down for Your Town!
REGISTER: Register online (coming soon)

Please join the City of Kalamazoo Public Services Division on a relaxing and scenic paddle through the winding waterways of the Kalamazoo River.  On this guided paddle tour, participants will learn about the natural history of the Kalamazoo River, highlighting aquatic invasive species, local native species and the role they play in the river’s ecosystem.

DATE: Saturday, September 15
START LOCATION: Merrill Park, Comstock (get directions)
TRIP LENGTH: 1 – 1.5 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Drop off boats and gear at Merrill Park by 8:30 AM, drive to end location and a shuttle will be available to take you back to Merrill Park for the 9:30 AM launch.
CONTACT: Jamie at (269) 447-1580 or krwc@kalamazooriver.org
RENTAL AVAIL?: Yes (call Lee’s Adventure Sports at (269) 381-7700)
COST: FREE (except for rentals)
OTHER INFO: Coffee and refreshments will be available and free to participants during check-in ; T-shirts will also be offered at no cost to all who pre-register and indicate their size (NOTE: pre-registration is required and limited to the first 40 people).
REGISTER: Call the event host at (269) 966-3355

Join the Cities of Charlotte and Olivet and Village of Bellevue for one of the few Kanoe the Kazoo paddles on a tributary stream.  This event starts at Schrontz Memorial Park for check-in and includes a shuttle to the starting point at V Avenue.  Participants will paddle down  Indian Creek back to Schrontz Memorial Park for a picnic lunch.

DATE: Saturday, September 22
START LOCATION: Schrontz Memorial Park
END LOCATION: Schrontz Memorial Park
TRIP LENGTH: 3 hours
CAR SPOTTING/SHUTTLE: Shuttle will bring you from Schrontz Memorial Park in Olivet 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 or mgriffith@charlottemi.org
OTHER INFO: Registration price includes T-shirt and lunch at end of trip at the park
REGISTER: Download registration form (coming soon), or call the event host (517) 231-2324


Join us on Saturday, October 6, 2018 for Krazy for the Kazoo, a series of river cleanup and conservation events. 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)

Brochure (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 2018 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 Township Water Resources Council
  • Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition
  • Kellogg Biological Station (MSU)
  • Marshall Area Conservation Committee
  • Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality
  • Plainwell Kayak Company
  • 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!