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Four friends prepare to kayak the Lake Superior shoreline 'Four the Water'

May 18, 2018 09:00AM ● Published by Editor

By Tyler J Markle of WLUC-TV - Thursday, May 17, 2018



 MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Great Lakes account for close to 20 percent of the world's freshwater, and they face threats like climate change, invasive species, and waste overflow. That’s why four friends are kayaking the Lake Superior shoreline to raise awareness for water conservation.

Ryan Busch, Karol Rajksi, Jared VanOordt, and Drew Etling are four friends who have kayaked the shores of Lake Superior for years. Last year, they had an idea; to kayak the entire shoreline of the lake in one summer. 

“The journey all started as an idea back when we were kayak guides for Paddling Michigan out in Munising,” said Rajksi. “After paddling every single day we just wanted to go bigger and better. The nice thing about that was that we have a cause to do it for.”

The idea then evolved when the guys decided to seek the help of the Superior Watershed Partnership. Now, in addition to their three month journey, the group will also help SWP track micro plastic levels in the lake. 

“Get a big water sample, send it back to the water shed, and let them do the lab work,” said VanOordt. “Other than the micro plastics though, we're also doing some dam inventory.”
They started preparing last July, tracing out their route, exercising, raising money, and getting the proper gear. Much of the gear was donated through sponsorships and businesses. They have also received assistance from people throughout Marquette. 

“The support from the community is amazing,” said Etling. “The Marquette community is something else. I keep telling people it feels like a neighborhood, which it just does.”

Their journey starts Monday, May 21 at 9 a.m., when they take off from Presque Isle in Marquette. From there, the guys will travel 1,500 miles over three months as they make their way around the lake and back to Marquette. 

“Each day, we plan on kayaking definitely over 20 miles for sure,” said Busch. “On a nice beautiful day like we have today, even more than that.”

After months of preparation, they're finally ready to get going. 

“We're just excited to get out in the water and educate and inspire and raise awareness for the Great Lakes,” said Rajski.

Upon completion the guys will compile their journey into a documentary they hope to showcase at the Fresh Coast Film Festival.

To learn more about the trek or how you can donate, you can visit their website.
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