A Grand Adventure: Michigan's first universally accessible paddle

This summer a dedicated group will make Michigan history when a large group of veterans with disabilities will paddle the length of the Grand River. They'll be escorted on the 184-mile trip by friends, family and paddlers of all abilities as they raise awareness of efforts to improve access to Michigan's longest inland waterway and promote health and healing through paddle sports.

The Grand Adventure is being planned by a group of dedicated volunteers and accessibility professionals who want to create the first universally accessible water trail in Michigan or perhaps the world!

The Grand Adventure will include wounded veterans and others with physical or cognitive challenges. All paddlers of any ability are welcome to paddle the entire route or join the group for shorter segments. The organizing committee will be working with communities along the river to enhance universal access for paddlers of all abilities at each rest stop, lunch site and overnight stopping points so everyone will be able to independently access the river.

The paddle will start south of Eaton Rapids in Tompkins on June 19th, with special opening events planned as paddlers arrive in Eaton Rapids later in the day. A Grand Adventure will also make stops in  many communities along the Grand River including Lansing, Portland, and Grand Rapids before making the final push to Grand Haven and Lake Michigan on July 1st.

Scott Fraser owner of Highland River Adventures INC., a school specializing in adaptive paddling, will serve as the event coordinator for the event. Mr. Fraser is a certified American Canoe Association instructor in the state of Michigan and the chapter coordinator of team River Runner; a water sports program for veterans with disabilities.

The organizers are seeking sponsors, partners and volunteers to provide financial, in-kind and labor support to make this event a reality and to make lasting accessibility improvements.