help_outline Skip to main content

Traverse Area Paddle Club

Remember: all TAPC outings are listed on our event calendar and are color coded using this scheme:


Small Inland Lakes   

Great Lakes   

Easy Rivers 

Intermediate Rivers  

Difficult Rivers 
Clean-up Trips 

Out-of-town Trips 

If you need help using the website you may call the Club Express

Help Desk at

(866) 457-2582

Monday - Friday,

8:30 AM - 7 PM Eastern Time

Trip Reports

April 17, 2021 - Boardman River Cleanup at the Goodwill Inn, Traverse City

Norm R Fred | Published on 4/17/2021

Goodwill Inn Camping Gear Debris Cleanup
Along The Boardman River Shoreline
April 17, 2021

This project got started because of some homeless guys that came to a cleanup
once said they enjoyed working and we should do this kind of thing at the
camping sites behind the Goodwill Inn.

I just shrugged it off and moved on but once I took a walk down there, I was convinced they were right. But the job seemed impossible until I got the idea to pay homeless people at the Commons to carry their trash out for 2.00 a bag and that work so well. Then I knew how to do it but the hills at the GWI were the biggest barrier. Then I took another walk and I realize that the YMCA was just down river from the site and we could carry it all out with canoes to the YMCA. That's when I got to work and made some contacts and phone calls.

After some false starts and a WORLD WIDE PANDEMIC, we finally got our chance and went for it but it almost didn’t happen because of the nature and ownership of the property. But finally, it worked out better than I had hoped all due to the fantastic cooperation of the City of Traverse City who provided a huge garbage truck to reduce the number bags we had to fill and be able to work in different locations and the Garfield Township that got us all the supplies and manpower. King Solomon could not have worked it out better.

We took more than 15500 pounds of trash out of the woods today. That’s more than we have taken out in 10 years of river cleanups in the past.

The Traverse Area Paddle Club provided the paddlers with a few civilians tossed in just for fun. They transported 79 bags of trash, more than a few mattresses, a few tires, boxes of glass and lots of other loose stuff in canoes 1000 feet from the site to the YMCA for disposal. Then they paddled back up to get more. Most of them paddled at least 7 trips but some did 9 or 10. That's 20000 feet or 4 miles, half of that upstream. One member removed a tent that was in the river and another team member and his son cleared an entire campsite singlehandedly before we had even arrived. These are dedicated people for sure.

Harm Reduction Michigan came the day before and removed over 1000 used needles for our safety.

Community Quest of Traverse City gave us a grant to pay the homeless folks and to buy supplies.

City of Traverse City provided a huge garbage truck that made it all possible.

YOUTHWORK sent some people and the Libertarians came in a large group.

The Grand Traverse Conservation District brought wheel barrows and supplied BIG canoes.

The Bethlehem Lutheran Church sent some volunteers and 3 wheel barrows.

Trout Unlimited sent volunteers.

Brook Trout Coalition sent volunteers.

Audubon of Traverse City sent a volunteer.

The GTC Jail sent us 2 Inmates that worked really hard, plus law enforcement for our safety.

Some homeless people pitched in, worked hard and refused payment. We paid them anyway.

AND just plain folks came to help.

It was an example of people wanting to make a difference and who could not do it without the help of others.. I think the word is SYNERGY.

People cheerfully worked outside their comfort zones to get it done. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Here are the photos that tell the whole story.

One Year Before: Noah Randall Starts This Cleanup Without Us:


Needle Mitigation:          


Record Eagle Article - 04/20/2021:

Additional Project - April 28, 2021 - 2:00 to 3:30pm
****On April 28, 2021, 7 of us went back to the site below the Goodwill Inn to complete a small place that we had to leave on the original project.   One camper had already arrived and trashed the place where we had worked so hard to cleanup just a 10 days  before.  Nonetheless, we continued to our site location and took 1500+ MORE pounds of trash out of the swampy site in an hour.  Getting it out of the swamp was one thing.  It was difficult and messy.  Getting up the hill by hand was very much different.  That was brutal but everyone cooperated and got it done.  For disposal, we used the OLD YMCA dumpster for 20 bags, 8 went to Dr Paul Sternhagan's office on 8th Street and 6 when to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. That's 34 bags, each weighing more than 50 pounds.

Thanks go out to the volunteers that worked really hard to get this done.  I have hope that it will stay clean but my gut feeling is that it will not. 

We were very discouraged by this situation.  We can't continue to do this sort of project in a sustained manner if the homeless people that camp there don't help keep it clean.  Volunteers will not come to these sorts of projects without some help from the people who live there which was visibly missing today.  There were some homeless people at the original project but only three out of the dozens that could have helped.  So we are not encouraged by the outcome that we saw today and we doubt that it will be of very high priority in the future. 

Followup Project:            

Norm Fred – Boardman River Clean Sweep