Paddleboarders to cross Lake Michigan to raise funds for Great Lakes conservation

In an effort to raise funds that will be used for Great Lakes conservation and restoration projects two Muskegon-based paddleboarders will attempt to cross Lake Michigan from Milwaukee to Muskegon.

Said Eric Strickler, who grew up in Grand Rapids, moved out west for a period of time, and has now come to settle in Muskegon, “The many personalities of Lake Michigan in every season have always fascinated me. I guess that’s part of why I really want to cross the Lake on a SUP (stand up paddleboard) ...”

Daniel Bonner has had a lifelong love affair with Lake Michigan growing up in North Muskegon. “I still try to make it out to Lake Michigan as often as I can to surf, paddleboard or just enjoy a dinner on the beach watching the sunset,” said Bonner. “I have always liked pushing my limits and have always loved Lake Michigan, so I figured let’s try to surf two waves with one board ... or something like that.”

Michigami Crossing, as the men are labelling their effort, will use social media channels to raise awareness of recreational opportunities around the Great Lakes and of environmental issues.

Michigami is the Algonquian word for “big lake,” and was used because the two wanted to pay homage to the respectful relationship that Native American tribes had with Lake Michigan. The Muskegon River Watershed Partnership will be the beneficiary of the donations collected.

August will be the month the two paddlers attempt to make the ~79 mile crossing. They expect it to take between 20-30 hours based on conditions.

The team has yet to secure a support boat to be their back-up in event of emergency. If interested you can contact the team through their Facebook or Instagram page.

“The lakes cannot advocate for themselves, but their clean water, shifting dunes and incredible beaches send a clear message that if we take care of them, they will take care of, and provide limitless inspiration to, all of us.”