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The Boardman River flows into the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The Boardman's upper tributaries rise near Kalkaska, Michigan, and its watershed drains an area of 295 square miles (760 km2) through 130 miles (210 km) of river and tributaries. The Boardman River is considered one of the top ten trout streams in Michigan. Before entering the Grand Traverse Bay, it becomes Boardman Lake, which is really just a wide, deep stretch of the river about 2 miles (3.2 km) long and a half-mile (800 m) wide.

Boardman River between downtown Traverse City and Grand Traverse Bay

After flowing through Boardman Lake, the river descends through downtown Traverse City, following a hairpin-shaped course to Grand Traverse Bay. This Traverse City section of the Boardman River is accessible by motorboat from the lakeshore up to a weir about a quarter-mile (400 m) upstream from the lakeshore. A short distance upstream from the weir is a small decommissioned hydroelectric dam located between Cass and Union Streets.


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