Summer 2023 eNewsletter

Stand Up for Great Lakes: Paddleboarders Raise >$25,000 for CIGLR in Fifth Great Lake Crossing

Three paddleboarders from northern Michigan finished their 8-year quest to cross all five of the Laurentian Great Lakes. Having already crossed Lake Michigan (2015), Lake Huron (2017), Lake Superior (2018) and Lake Erie (2019), Lake Ontario was all that remained. Once again, the Stand Up for Great Lakes team decided to partner with CIGLR raising over $25,000 that is helping to expand Lake Ontario flood control and shoreline restoration work as well as train the next generation of Great Lakes scientists!

Jeff Guy, Kwin Morris, and Joe Lorenz cross Lake Ontario on stand up paddleboards raising over $25,000 for CIGLR.

The team includes Jeff Guy, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch in Traverse City, Michigan; Joe Lorenz, a personal trainer in Traverse City, Michigan; and Kwin Morris, a middle school science teacher in the Elk Rapids School District and the owner of Twin Birch Golf Club. The trio believes that numerous little actions equal big results. Jeff, Joe and Kwin love the water, love the challenge and love the Great Lakes, so why not raise awareness and resources while stand up paddleboarding?! As each lake paddle is completed, Stand Up for Great Lakes uses the publicity surrounding their trips to raise and donate money to a non-profit organization that conducts research and educates the public about the Great Lakes.

“CIGLR is doing spectacular work and they have dedicated many research efforts to safeguard the Great Lakes ecosystem,” says Lorenz. “They are experts in Great Lakes issues, and we are thrilled to have them on board our team once again.”

Stand Up For Great Lakes also partnered with CIGLR in 2019, when the trio paddled 80 miles across Lake Erie raising over $17,000. The team started at the Belle Isle State Park in Detroit, Michigan and traveled down the Detroit River before making the lake crossing to Catawba Island State Park in Ohio.

Lake Ontario was the last of the Great Lakes for the trio to cross on stand up paddleboards, and arguably one of the toughest. Starting their trip in Toronto, the team fought a barrage of 16+ knot wind gusts, 3+ foot waves, rain and lingering wildfire smoke, making the 35-mile crossing to Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, New York an extremely rough 13 hours. The team’s original goal was to make the paddle a roundtrip crossing, finishing back in Toronto. “When we got to shore, we looked at the forecast and saw the winds would be even higher overnight, another 7 hours of 2-5 foot waves, so we decided one way was enough,” said Morris. “We made our Lake Ontario crossing, so the mission was accomplished!”

The team would like to work on new local, community-based paddleboard experiences and projects. “We’d like to work on more youth-organizing events, as well as work with college-age students on funding opportunities for Great Lakes research,” says Morris. “There are still so many challenges facing our Great Lakes and a lot of work to be done.”

“Our overall goal has been to make a difference, educate, and raise awareness about Great Lakes environmental issues in the region,” says Guy. “I think we’ve started to do that.”

Check out more about the Stand Up for Great Lakes Lake Ontario crossing by reading our Twitter thread.