Ottawa County News

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2020 Summer Camps

Registration for Ottawa County Parks Summer Camps for Ages 12-16 is now open! Parks Explorers Program – Explore the County’s parks and develop your leadership potential through outdoor recreation. Class meets from 9 am to 5 pm daily with an optional drop-off at 8 am (additional fee of $5 per day). Explorers will hone their recreation skills and practice leadership through group initiatives.
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The Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission is seeking public comment on the proposed route for the “Eastmanville Connector” segment of the Idema Explorers Trail in Allendale Township.  This segment will connect neighborhoods in Allendale to Eastmanville Bayou Open Space.  Eventually, the pathway will be connected to Grand Haven to the west and Grand Rapids to the east.
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Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission welcomes new members in 2020

Greg DeJong, County Commissioner Greg DeJong has been a resident of Ottawa County his entire life and has lived in Allendale Charter Township since 1980. Greg currently serves on the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners (District 8). He and his wife Pam have two married sons, two daughter-in-laws, and two grandchildren.
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The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) board recommended $300,000 in development funds to be allocated to Ottawa County Parks & Recreation for development and construction of a 1-mile segment of the Idema Explorers Trail in Jenison at their annual meeting in December.  The Idema Explorers Trail is a key feature of the Grand River Greenway which is comprised of 9,000 acres of public land between Grand Haven and Grand Rapids.
Hundreds of volunteers spent hours removing invasive honeysuckle along the shoreline of the sag at Ottawa Sands fall 2019… and we are thrilled to report that they completed the task! Grand Haven High School students, Day of Caring volunteers from GHSP and Bekins, and our Park Stewards worked over the course of the summer and fall to clear over 800′ of shoreline on the Grand River.

MSU Extension Key Partner Award

On October 29, 2019, Ottawa County Parks and former director, John Scholtz, was awarded a Key Partner Award by Michigan State University Extension. The Key Partner Award acknowledges those that have made significant contributions to support and promote MSU Extension programs. Scholtz served as director of the Ottawa County Department of Parks and Recreation for 32 years. In that time, his impact on Ottawa County’s MSU Extension programming has been immeasurable.
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2020 Coffee with the Birds Mug Club

2020 Coffee with the Birds Mug Club Memberships now available for sale! The limited edition mug features a photo of a Ruby-throated hummingbird taken by Blair Celano. The photo and mug design was unveiled at the first Coffee with the Birds of the season (December 6).

North Ottawa Dunes/Ottawa Sands Closed November 22-25, 2019

Park Closure Information Please note that North Ottawa Dunes & Ottawa Sands will be CLOSED for an annual wildlife management hunt on Friday, November 22 – Monday, November 25. Access is by permission only; those in the parks without permission will be ticketed. The parks will re-open Tuesday, November 26. Hunters are chosen each year by lottery.
Left-right: County Commissioner Matt Fenske, Judge Peter Versluis, Bea Idema, President Philomena V. Mantella, Ambassador Peter Secchia, and County Commissioner Greg DeJong

Connecting GVSU to Grand Ravines

Partners gathered on October 23, 2019 on Grand Valley State University’s campus to celebrate the completion of the Versluis GVSU Campus Segment of the Idema Explorers Trail.  The completed trail now connects Grand Ravines to GVSU’s Allendale campus and the Allendale business district. Eventually, the Idema Explorers Trail will be 36.5-miles and connect Grand Rapids to Grand Haven Grand Valley State University President Philomena V.

Featured Artists October-December 2019

Each quarter Ottawa County Parks will host the work of artists from the Lakeshore Visual Arts Collective that feature nature/parks. Their work will be available for purchase from the Nature Center with a portion of the proceeds supporting our Parks. Learn more about the artists featured in October, November, and December of this year (2019) below. Be sure to plan a visit to check out this work, and more, in person.

Importance of Wetlands

Far from being useless, disease-ridden places, wetlands provide value that no other ecosystem can. Wetlands help improve water quality, provide flood protection and shoreline erosion control,  and create opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation. Protecting wetlands can protect our safety and welfare. Forty percent of Michigan’s wetlands have been destroyed, from being drained or filled in, since the late 1800s. We now recognize the critical services these ecosystems provide for humans and wildlife.

Ottawa County Parks EEE Notice

At this time, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health does not have a recommendation to postpone, reschedule or cancel outdoor activities because there have been no local animal or human cases in Ottawa County. Ottawa County is not participating in mosquito spraying for EEE because Ottawa County has no local animal or human EEE cases.

Welcoming Jason Shamblin

Ottawa County welcomed a new Parks Director to the team in June. Jason Shamblin, his wife Allison and three children, Grayson, Griffin and Madelyn officially relocated to Ferrysburg over the summer. Jason grew up on a farm in the hills of southeastern Ohio and spent his childhood years exploring the outdoors with his twin brother.
Open House events Hosted by the Friends of Ottawa County Parks Weaver House at Pine Bend: September 15 and October 20, 1-3 pm Grand Ravines Lodge: Every Sunday in September and October 1-5 pm Friends of Ottawa County Parks Annual Meeting September 18, 6-9 pm at the Weaver House at Pine Bend Each year at their annual meeting the Friends of Ottawa County Parks provides a presentation to the general public.

Fall 2019 Volunteer Workdays