resource guide

for property owners in the Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed.

Protect Our Waters.
Enjoy Our Waters. 

With many water-related recreational activities to enjoy, there are numerous opportunities to explore our beautiful landscape. 


Fishing is one of the most popular recreational activities of landowners and visitors alike. There are 154 species of fish found in Michigan waters and many of them are abundant in the lakes and streams of the Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed. There are numerous opportunities for anglers enjoy both open-water fishing on our lakes and streams or fishing through the ice during winter. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources regulates fishing within the state and is responsible for surveying fish populations and stocking species in support of recreational fishing.

Bob's Grandson
Boats on Elk


As can be viewed from the center of any of the lakes in the Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed, nearly every lakefront property has at least one boat ready to take on the water. There are 36 public boat launches that make these lakes easily accessible to others looking to get on the water. The Chain of Lakes offers extraordinary boating excursions from the northern lakes to the dam in Bellaire and Bellaire to Elk Rapids. It is important that every boat and personal watercraft operator knows and follows the basic rules of navigation and courtesy to protect our lives and our ecosystem. Boating safety classes are offered each year and there are plenty of opportunities for non-motorized craft excursions and community paddles.

Parks & Natural Areas

There are numerous state, county, and township parks throughout the Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed. Antrim Creek Natural Area, Cedar River Natural Area, Elk Rapids Day Park, Glacial Hills, and Grass River Natural Area are just a few places that provide opportunities to enjoy our water and land resources. Many natural areas have been created through partnerships between government entities and organizations such as the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and Torch Conservation Center.

14-0626-001 Serene Stream-Kalkaska Area_Larry DeBow (1)