Ottawa County News

Winter Recreation

Winter Recreational Activities Ottawa County Parks offer miles of un-groomed cross-country ski trails and places to explore on snowshoes, but two parks are considered winter destinations: Pigeon Creek Park offers groomed cross-country ski trails, ski and snowshoe rentals, ski lessons, sledding and more. Hemlock Crossing Park is another popular destination during winter offering snowshoe rentals at the Nature Center. Click here to learn more about these locations Trail conditions website: miOttawa.

Public Observatory

Update January 14, 2021: Progress continues on the public observatory slated for Hemlock Crossing County Park. Using current concept drawings, the Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association (SAAA) created a 3D printed model of the facility – you can check it out below. The observatory will have a rotating dome and house a 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, providing an opportunity for viewing, studying, and photographing objects in the night sky.

2021 Coffee with the Birds Information Page

Update: November 2020 Become a Coffee with the Birds Mug Club Member! Click the logo to login & purchase!  See more detail below.

Hunting in Ottawa County Parks

Hunting is an important part of managing natural lands and parks in Ottawa County. Biodiversity is dependent on a delicate balance of predator and prey populations. In Michigan, this balance has been altered by a significant loss of predators, like wolves. As a result, some prey populations, such as deer, do not have the natural checks and balances needed to prevent overpopulation.

Naturalist Office Hours

We are adding Virtual Office Hours for adults and students to connect with an Ottawa County Parks naturalist on Zoom! This is an opportunity for you to ask that question you’ve always wanted to ask about the natural or cultural history of your favorite park, tap into advice from an insider to tailor a park visit to your needs, learn more about upcoming programs you’re thinking of attending, or get some insight that helps you
Park Closure Information Please note that North Ottawa Dunes & Ottawa Sands will be CLOSED for an annual wildlife management hunt on Friday, November 20 through Monday, November 23, 2020. Access is by permission only; those in the parks without permission will be ticketed. The parks will re-open Tuesday, November 24. Hunters are chosen each year by lottery – learn more here. Hunting lotteries open in August and hunters are chosen in October.
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Apply now for the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission

Applications are now being accepted for the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission. Any interested residents of Ottawa County may apply for the Parks and Recreation Commission through the County’s website. Applications should be submitted asap. The three-year term begins January 1, 2021. Apply online:
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Bend Area Expansion

Update: November 3, 2020 Following the purchase of 87 acres of land to expand the Bend Area Open Space in Georgetown Township earlier this year, the acquisition of an adjacent 62 acres of former gravel mining land was completed in October. In addition to Ottawa County Parks millage funding, this expansion was made possible by a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, as well as funding from the Ottawa County Parks Foundation’s Grand River Greenway Campaign.

Coffee with the Birds: Discussion Resources

COFFEE WITH THE BIRDS Event Discussion Resources FOR MORE INFORMATION ON Coffee with the Birds and how to join the MUG CLUB: To pre-submit questions for discussion at a future CwB event: Birding Resources Page: January 9th, 2021 Snowy Owl Identification US Fish & Wildlife Feather Atlas:

2021 Ottawa County Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan

Available for public comment A draft of the 2021 longe-range parks plan is ready for review. A public meeting is planned for the December 2 Parks Commission meeting (approximate time TBA; meeting begins at 3 pm). Public comment will be available via Zoom; a link to the meeting will be available on the day of the meeting at Comments may also be sent via email or mailed to the Parks administrative office: 12220 Fillmore St.
Parks Bingo Careerline Tech Center’s futurePREP’d program and Ottawa County Parks & Recreation are hosting a series of events to encourage students and their families to get outside this fall. This will be the kick-off event for Hope College’s Little Read Lakeshore program, an annual, month-long community-wide reading program. The community focus book is “Galapagos Girl” that tells the story of how a young girl connects to the natural world while living on the Galapagos islands.
Initial public input events for the Ottawa Sands Master Plan are complete, as well as natural features inventory and analysis of plant communities, wetlands, and herpetology. Based on this input, our consultant has developed concepts and options for park development that you can now view online! Public Input There are two concepts, as well as supporting documents. After reviewing the plans, we welcome you to share feedback with us. Please send your comments via email by October 20, 2020.
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New Parks Commissioner Lukas Hill

Lukas Hill is a graduate of Northern Michigan University and is Certified Planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners. Hill has lived in Ottawa County for the last 15 years with his family while working for Spring Lake Township as their Community Development Director. Part of his role with the Township is to help develop park and recreation plans and coordinate associated grants with various state and local agencies.

mi Ottawa Sands

Get involved in the Ottawa Sands Master Plan! Update: September 18, 2020 Initial public input events for the Ottawa Sands Master Plan have now been completed, as well as natural features inventory and analysis of plant communities, wetlands, and herpetology. You can review them here.
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Special Parks Commission Meeting for 2021 Parks Plan

A special Parks Commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 23 from 3-5 pm to review planning documents for the 2021 Ottawa County Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan. The 2021 plan is intended to guide Ottawa County with its parks, recreation, and open space planning and development efforts for the next five- to ten-year period.