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2020 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.

Grand River Expedition

MGROW, in partnership with the Upper Grand River Watershed Alliance and the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds, will present Grand River Expedition 2020

July 5-18, 2020

To our Grand River watershed friends,


Many of you have contacted us with questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it will affect the Expedition. Our organizing committee is closely following the rapidly changing recommendations for staying safe in group gatherings. We will follow the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services regulations in deciding whether this event can be conducted safely.


At this time, we don’t plan to cancel or postpone the Expedition. That could change as conditions change. If you have already registered, we have a refund policy in place and will contact you via email with the details.


We have temporarily suspended payment for registration but you can still claim a spot on our wait list. Please note, this doesn’t mean cancellation – we just want to be prepared.


We encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the CDC's suggested safety precautions. Stay safe and healthy.


-- The GRE 2020 organizers

Cost is $295 for the event, including meals, camping, and gear transport downriver. Day and overnight paddler registration will open at a later date. Please fill out our GRE2020 contact form (if you haven’t already) to receive updates.


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