The Inland Waterway

The Inland Waterway is Michigan's longest chain of rivers and lakes. The town of Indian River is right at the heart of it! The Inland Waterway, which is more than 40 miles long, runs through Pickerel Lake, Crooked Lake, The Crooked River, Burt Lake, The Indian River, Mullett Lake, The Cheboygan River, and finally into Lake Huron.

This historical marker can be found at Burt Lake State Park.

Caption at left reads:
The glaciers of the last Ice Age retreated to the north some 25,000 years ago, leaving behind the lakes that rank as Michigan's most notable and geographical feature. Among the state's largest inland lakes is Burt Lake, named after William A. Burt, who, together with John Mullett, made a federal survey of the area from 1840 to 1843. By following the Cheboygan River, Mullett Lake, and Indian River to Burt Lake, then up Crooked River to Crooked Lake, Indians and fur traders had only a short portage to Little Traverse Bay. Thus they avoided the trip through the Straits. Completion of a lock on the Cheboygan in 1869 opened this inland waterway to the Cheboygan Slack Water Navigation Company, whose vessels carried passengers and freight until railroads put it out of business. Day-long excursions over these waters became popular with tourists.

Navigational charts of the Inland Waterway are available through the Chamber of Commerce at a cost of $20 ($15 for the chart plus $5 postage and handling). If you are interested in purchasing these charts, please remit a check or money order in the amount of $20, made payable to the Indian River Chamber of Commerce. Send Payment to:


Indian River Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 57
Indian River, MI 49749


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