Heward Challenge is an annual paddling event commemorating British fur trader Hugh Heward
and seven Frenchmen’s 50 mile sprint in two birch bark canoes down the Grand River
on April 24, 1790. Michigan Historian and Topologist Jim Woodruff brought Hugh’s
historical trek to the attention of world renowned canoeist Verlen Kruger and asked if the modern paddler could
accomplish such a feat in the same amount of time- from dawn to dusk. Verlen accepted the challenge and invited others to
join; The Hugh Heward Challenge was born. Last year over 100 paddlers participated in the reenactment of all or part of Hugh’s
route from Dimondale to Portland. The challenge evolved to include paddlers comfortable with shorter distances, offering start
locations known as the “Half Hugh” starting in Grand Ledge a distance of 25 miles, and the “Quarter Hugh”
starting at Charlotte Hwy Bridge in Portland a distance of 13 miles.
6am, Lions Park 300 W. Jefferson St. Dimondale, 50 miles
9am, Grand Ledge Dam in Fitzgerald Park, 25 miles.
Hugh: Noon, Charlotte Hwy Bridge, Portland, 13 miles.