Grand River Experience

MGROW, in partnership with the Upper Grand River Watershed Alliance and the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds, will present Grand River Experience 2021

Introducing the Grand River Experience - GREx

Coming to you online in Summer 2021.

Dear Grand River watershed friends,

We will have a "self-guided" event in summer 2021 called the Grand River Experience (GREx). Unfortunately, due to COVID we won't be able to facilitate people coming together to paddle or camp along the river in groups.


What we will do is provide information and resources for people to plan their own activities on, alongside, or near the river, and share their experiences online.


You can:

  • Paddle! We'll post maps and access info for the best day trips the Grand River has to offer

  • Walk

  • Run

  • Ride your bike

  • Go birdwatching

  • Go fishing

  • Take photos or video

  • Anything on, alongside, or near the river that counts as experiencing the Grand.


It will be toughest for the folks who went on the 1990, 2000, and/or 2010 Expeditions to re-imagine GRE as a virtual GREx. The social contact was always the best part of GRE. But we hope you'll participate in GREx on your own, share your experience virtually, and help us introduce the river to more people, some of whom don't paddle or even get outdoors as much as they would like. We want to communicate to a broader audience how much we love the river and show them that it's easy and fun to experience it in smaller bites.


Please fill out our GREx contact form (if you haven't already). Watch for updates via email which will also be posted on a web page now being developed. We are working on a network of web and social media venues where you'll be able to share your own Grand River Experience.


The tentative date window for the 2021 Grand River Experience is June 15-August 31, to be confirmed in March. The fee will be a small donation amount.


Stay safe and healthy!


-- The Grand River Experience organizers


2020 will be the fourth Expedition since the legendary paddler Verlen Kruger first launched the event in 1990.  Verlen held several World Records for the most miles paddled by canoe, including the 3.5 year, 28,040 mile "Ultimate Canoe Challenge" that ended in Lansing in 1983. Verlen was the Rivermaster for the second Expedition in 2000. The 2010 event carried on his legacy, and once again we’ll honor his memory in 2020 as we paddle 218 miles of the Grand River from Jackson to Grand Haven over 13 days in July.

Past expeditions have included educational presentations and water quality monitoring. Participants have included scientists, historians, educators, students, environmental professionals, civic and business leaders, government representatives, writers, and paddlers ranging in age from 12 to 85.

Read the Grand River Expedition 2010 final report HERE.

MLIVE had extensive coverage of GRE 2010.


  • Sunday, July 5 – afternoon headwaters tour (optional) with opening ceremonies and pre-launch camping at Vandercook Lake Park near Jackson (dinner included)

  • Monday, July 6 – launch from Vandercook Lake

  • Friday, July 17 – camping and closing ceremonies at Connor Bayou near Grand Haven

  • Saturday morning, July 18 – short paddle to Ferrysburg, quick load-and-go at Ottawa Sands County Park


In addition to the full 13-day expedition, we will be offering opportunities for day paddlers and special 3-day, 2-night packages.  More details till be announced soon.

Not interested in paddling?  Consider volunteering or joining us for an evening presentation!

We’ll be announcing the full schedule in the near future in a separate email to those who have signed up for the GRE2020 email list. Please fill out our GRE2020 contact form (if you haven’t already) to receive updates starting in February 2020.


GRE 2020 will offer:

  • day trip and 3-day opportunities to paddle with the Expedition

  • a focus on the communities along the river, with activities for paddlers and non-paddlers alike

  • a celebration of Michigan DNR’s designation of the Upper and Middle sections of the Grand as Michigan Water Trails

  • adventure, learning, and camaraderie for anyone who is passionate about our rivers and their role in our changing landscape.

Coming Soon

In addition to the daily itinerary, we’ll soon be announcing:

  • Fee schedule for day paddlers and section paddlers. (Full Expedition fee is $295 for all meals, camping, and gear transport downriver for 13 days and 12 nights.)

  • Online registration process (or register early at the Quiet Adventures Symposium in MGROW’s booth)

  • Shuttle planning if you want to spot a car in Grand Haven

  • Supply list/info on what to pack

  • Activities for paddlers and non-paddlers

  • Volunteer opportunities

  • Facebook

2021 MGROW | Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds

MGROW is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Your donation helps us in our mission to protect and preserve the history and natural resources of the Middle Grand River Watershed.