Community Partner Spotlight: Buckley’s Mountainside Canoes

Community Partner Spotlight: Buckley’s Mountainside Canoes

By Makaela Willis, Marketing & Owner Services Assistant

Located 8 miles west of Mt. Pleasant Michigan on the banks of the Chippewa River, Buckley’s Mountainside Canoes is a great summer spot for those who love to spend their summers in or on the waters of the lakes and rivers all over Michigan. They specialize in large group outings and family canoeing adventures. So bring your family or friends and hit the river for some summertime fun! From 1-2 hours to overnight Buckley’s has the waterway adventure for you!

For this Community Partner Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz Busch. Liz is one of the owners of this wonderful family business!
Here are the answers to some of my questions:

How did you become the owners of Buckley’s?
Bob and I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors and we met when we were teenagers at Philmont Scout Ranch, backpacking camp. Once we had kids it was harder to go backpacking but we could throw the kids and the dog in a canoe and spend all day on the Chippewa River. We got to know the original owners, John and Donna Buckley, through all our time on the river. We came to an agreement on taking over the business in 2010 and our family has had a blast helping people get in the river here since then. 2023 will be the 50th anniversary of Buckley’s Mountainside Canoes and we are honored to help steward the business into the next half century.

Which canoe or kayak trip is your favorite?
That’s trickier to answer. Not only is it hard to choose a favorite trip but also every trip is different. As they say you can never step in the same river twice. I like taking School Road to Buckley’s at about 4pm. 2-3 hours, end right at Buckley’s, and that time of evening is wonderful for wildlife and especially birds, cedar wax wing, great blue herons, green herons, wood ducks, king fishers – I could go on and on. Deer, raccoons, beaver, cougars in their natural habitat often with a cocktail and yoga pants. Not to mention the turtles! One time my daughter and I counted over 300 turtles in less than 3 hours. When she was about 4 she said the river should be renamed turtle river.

Are there other places you like to canoe or kayak?
Our family was lucky enough to get out together to the Boundary Waters during the summer of 2020. We even closed the shop for a week to spend that special time together. There is something about being on the water in a canoe or kayak that really allows people to be present with their loved ones or with themselves and that was so important for everyone to learn that summer.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
At Buckley’s we see ourselves as more than a small family business, we are a community resource. We love to help with fundraisers, community concerts, and other group events. We have a casual, fun event space and have hosted everything from baby showers to a funeral. Families, churches, corporate events for small and large organizations can have a positive, relationship building experience that will leave a lasting impression.

Our Co-op Owners get the amazing deal of $15 per person for trips, Monday-Thursday.

To set up your next adventure contact Liz. Phone: 989-772-5437, email:

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