Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The River Eco Tours Offers Hiking, Biking & Fishing Excursions Through Glen Arbor, Sleeping Bear Dunes and Leelanau Peninsula

The village of Glen Arbor in Northern Michigan’s Leelanau County is 36 square miles of land and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore owns 30 of those miles. Ironically, 90% of the visitors to the National Park never venture off more than 50 feet from a sidewalk or pavement. The experienced guides with River Eco Tour Company are dedicated to getting people of all ages out into the park – by boat, bike or on foot – to experience the abundant natural surroundings the area is known for.


Tucker Lake fishing trips. All you need to do is show up. We provide the boats, the fishing rods and tackle, the ice and soft drinks, the insect repellent and an experienced guide to help you find, catch and release the fish.

First on the River trips. Leaving daily from the dam, this 7 mile trip at 7 a.m. promises peace and quiet and most likely several significant wildlife sightings. Bald Eagles, Otters, Herons, several species of ducks and geese, deer, possibly a bear or even the elusive cougar may be witnessed on any given morning. Our guide will also fill you in on the local flora and fauna, ecological facts, and even a narrative history of Glen Arbor for the last couple hundred years. Dress Warm.

Biking Tours into the Park and around the Lakes. Our guides have several different trips for the beginner, the advanced and everyone in between. Leelanau County is biker friendly and our guides are experienced with getting you to the most beautiful spots safely. From one to six hour trips available. For up to date schedules, just call us or stop in at the shop.

Hiking Tours – Sleeping Bear Point Trail with its spectacular views of the dunes, Manitou Islands, Sleeping Bear Bay, Alligator Hill and Glen Lake, the Sleeping Bear Point Trail hike is the favorite of many visitors to the National Lakeshore. If you only have time for one memorable hike to give you the full essence of the magnificence of Sleeping Bear, this is the one. The looping trail, just under three miles long and rising over 200 feet above the lakeshore, takes 1 to 3 hours to complete depending on the pace, stops, dip/wading in the lake, etc.

The trail covers a diverse mix of dune complex ecology, including: Lake Michigan’s shoreline, beach, foredunes, dune blow-outs, Ghost Forest, and backdunes/stabilized forest. The geography, geology, flora, fauna and history of Sleeping Bear Point will be discussed during the hike. You will see the rare threatened Pitcher’s thistle plant; possibly, the endangered piping plover, which nests along the lakeshore; and if you’re lucky, a bald eagle soaring over head. Although more than half of the hike is in loose sand, and is strenuous at times, our route goes through the forest first, on a hard dirt-packed path, which is the easiest route to get to the highest point of the hike. Anyone in good health will find this guided tour a fun, educational and memorable experience—while getting some great exercise in the process.

This tour is not recommended for small children unless they’re really into hiking, or unless you want to carry them part of the way.


Mike Sutherland has extensive experience on the waters and in the woods of Leelanau County. He has traveled over 50 Countries and is thrilled to offer his guide services right here in his home town of Glen Arbor. Mike has logged many days on the Crystal River and numerous inland lakes like Tucker, Fisher, The Glens, Narada, Shell, Bass, and School. He has plenty of big water experience and received his 50 ton Captains License in the mid nineties. He has chartered in the Bahamas, (6 winters on Guana Cay and 7 on Spanish Wells) Florida, (Eco Tour Guide at the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada) Nantucket, (including a transatlantic on a 48 foot yawl) and of course many trips on Lake Michigan fishing salmon and Lake Trout, diving the numerous shipwrecks in the Manitou Passage and Sleeping Bear Bay and has run many island trips to the Manitous. He now prefers the calmer water systems “inside the shoreline”, and is excited to offer his guide services and fishing experience on Leelanau County’s inland lakes and the Crystal River. Mike also specializes in skin diving, snorkeling on our inland lakes, even the river, and on calmer days would love to show you a couple of wrecks including the “Rising Sun” just off Pyramid Point. Nothing more than a mask and snorkel is required for this incredible experience.

Mike is excited to offer these trips to you and your family:

• Evening fishing trips on any of our inland lakes, but preferably Tucker right here in Glen Arbor.
• Morning or evening floats down the Crystal River.
• Snorkeling from a kayak or tube on many of our inland lakes or the Crystal River.
• Snorkeling from a kayak or tube on Sleeping Bear Bay. The wrecks of the Phelps and Rising Sun are in less than 10 feet of water. Also fun to snorkel through the piers at Glen Haven or the old Port Oneida Dock.

John Tris has been hiking the dunes of Lake Michigan’s southern and eastern shores for over 40 years. He first got hooked on a visit to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore while a college student at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Ecology, Conservation and Field Geography classes increased his interest, understanding and appreciation of the natural environment. He received a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Secondary Education from UIC. Fate brought John and his family to Leelanau County on a vacation, and like most everyone else who vacations here, it was love at first sight. Over the past 20 years, he has become very knowledgeable of the hiking trails in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and of the geography, geology, flora, fauna and cultural history of the region. He recently developed a guided tour of the Sleeping Bear Point trail, a favorite of dune hikers. John has also hiked many of the public trails managed by the Leelanau and Grand Traverse conservancies, and is always happy to share his knowledge.

Georg Schluender began his career at 17 years old assisting as a water ski instructor in Northern Michigan. Now over 20 years later, he has guided and / or instructed more than 35 silent sport’s coast-to-coast, border-to-border. Migrating with the birds and telling the time through the tides, moons and seasons, his greatest passion is watching those that rarely experience Mother Nature’s wonders stand awestruck in her presence. Georg understands nature, and loves to show people how to do the same. His focus on eco-tourism began in the San Juan’s and British Columbia Gulf Islands of the Pacific Northwest in 1991.

His tour guide experience for Sea Quest Expeditions and Zoetic (Endowed with Life) brought him face to face with hundreds of Orca in thousands of feet of ice cold black water with no land in sight… single man kayaks. He has conquered many a mountain, river and lake with his mountain bike, kayak and snowboard in the back country of the North Cascades. After several years in the Barrier Islands of the Nation’s Southeast guiding birding and kayaking tour’s, he has made it back to cultivate his roots in Northern Michigan. Georg’s passion is examining the natural history of the North Woods and he is available for many silent sport guided trips on foot, bike or kayak. Georg is an expert in geo-caching and is equipped with various GPS instruments and maps to help get him and his guests to natural wonders rarely seen by man.

Georg’s marketing company, Michigan Outdoor Silent Sport Tour’s – “Get the MOSST outta life!” has been featured around the world and allows him to affiliate with other career lifestyle businesses that share in the same eco-tourism philosophies. From winter rafting, snow shoe, and cross country tours to developing corporate retreats, his guiding experience is only matched by his knowledge of Northern Lower and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Mark Ringlever’s mantra as of late is: “Get in the water and let the current do the rest”. Mark has been bitten by the flyfishing bug and is passionately consumed by a monosyllabic image of tight sexy loops and big fish.
Mark has wet his line in many foreign and remote places of the globe including various Caribbean Islands and the Bahamas out islands, The Southern Philippines Islands, Nova Scotia-Cape Breton Island, Newfoundland and Central America.

Mark has college degrees in environmental science, geography and business from Michigan Tech and Acquanis and took his first job with the U.S. Forestry Service. Other jobs with Outward Bound and the Bureau of Land Management have given him the inspiration to guide in “some of the best water in the world” here in Northern Michigan. Mark has logged thousands of miles paddling and fishing Quetico Provincial Park and Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness. He built his own cottage near Empire and typically spends his winters out of country searching out the elusive fishing experience.

Mark is available for many fishing trips and is armed with a Hyde drift boat and extra rods and tackle. Stop into the shop and help us design a trip that works for you…..from bluegill fishing on Tucker Lake to trout fishing on the AuSable: The sky’s the limit.

Noah Creamer has been photographing the great outdoors for over 20 years. He is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and is a published professional photographer for various local and national publications. Noah is a 2008 Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) nominee in Environmental Journalism & Communication. Noah is extremely active in photography and environmental policy and was a speaker at the 2008 Grand Traverse BIONEERS conference. “Nature is the planets greatest evolving art. No two pictures are ever the same because our environment is in a constant state of change.” Take a photography tour with Noah and you will learn the techniques needed to capture these moments in their purist essence. Noah also loves to show kids the magic of photography.

An excursion with The River Eco Tours means everything you need is provided…all you have to do is show up. The company is fully licensed with the Department of Interior and fully insured.

In addition to its eco tours, The River operates a kayak/canoe/tube livery and miniature golf course along the sparkling shores of the Crystal River at 5959 S. Oak Street in Glen Arbor, just a block off famed M22.

To make reservations for any of these activities, call 231-883-7890. For more information, log onto

The River also operates a kayak/tube livery and bike rental operation at Clinch Park (behind Con Foster Museum), along the Boardman River and Grand Traverse Bay, in downtown Traverse City. |

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