Ottawa County News

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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.

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.
Over the summer, a Holland Youth Connections crew worked at Paw Paw Park performing much needed trail maintenance, as well as invasive plant and litter removal. Later in the summer, staff discovered a patch of buckthorn that returned after treatment and had gone to fruit. The crew was able to remove the woody invasives before they propagated. We were thrilled to be able to support this program for a sixth year.

Public Observatory

2020 Update: The Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association (SAAA) has reached their fundraising goal to construct an observatory at Hemlock Crossing County Park! We anticipate a ground breaking ceremony in 2021. More information coming soon. May 28, 2018: The SAAA is raising funds for West Michigan’s first public observatory! The $65,000 observatory is planned for Hemlock Crossing County Park, near the Nature Education Center.

Riverside Restoration Update

September 2020 – Update Culverts to Improve Access & Connectivity The addition of two new culverts to improve fish habitat and user access is underway (learn more about why this work is important below). This work was funded by the DNR’s Aquatic Habitat Grant program and matched by funds from our millage. Hundreds of feet of shoreline have been armored, but the work paused due to COVID. It will continue after the culvert construction.

2020 Homeschool Nature Programs

Are you homeschooling and looking for a way to get your kids outside and exploring, engaging, and discovering in nature? Learn more about the EARLY Explorers and ECO Explorers programs below! “I am very impressed with everything my child learned.

Become an Outdoor Explorer

New this year! We are offering a program designed for students who are participating in remote/virtual learning (or any child who needs an extra dose of nature!) because time spent outdoors is crucial to our health and well-being. The Outdoor Explorer Program provides fun recreational opportunities like hiking, biking, and kayaking throughout the park system for children between the ages of 4-14. All experiences will take place outdoors and with small groups.
Paw Paw Park is transforming from a highly manicured golf course to a more natural area. We continue to manage the ups and downs of changing from turf grass to diverse ecosystems. In areas where invasive species currently dominate native plants, we will be ”starting over” with the goal of establishing native grasses that can be managed long-term.

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.
limited office hours

Limited office hours

Beginning Monday, August 10, 2020 Ottawa County Parks & Recreation will have limited office hours at the Fillmore Complex. New Public Office Hours The Parks & Recreation Administrative Office at the Fillmore Complex (12220 Fillmore St, West Olive, Rm 267) will be open to the public every Monday and Thursday between the hours of 10 am-2 pm and by appointment. These hours do not reflect the entire building, only the Parks & Recreation Department.
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The Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission is seeking public comment on the proposed route for the “Stearns Bayou Connector” segment of the Idema Explorers Trail in Robinson Township. This segment will connect Connor Bayou Park to the Grand Haven Township trail system. Eventually, the pathway will be connected to Grand Haven to the west and Grand Rapids to the east.
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.
Our forests face a number of threats. Over the past two decades, Emerald ash borer destroyed nearly all of the ash trees in Michigan. As stewards and land managers of park property, Ottawa County Parks & Recreation is constantly monitoring for and treating oak wilt, hemlock woolly adelgid, beech bark, and other forests pests.

Prescribed Browsing Project

The eco goats have returned for another year! You can find them at Bur Oak Landing (West) on Oriole Drive. They are located to the south of the parking area. Easy to find. If the water level goes down, the goats will spend time at Eastmanville Bayou and at Riverside Park. While there, they will munch on woody invasives and poison ivy.

Ottawa County Parks and Recreation COVID Update

A number of sections in EO 2020-110, announced on June 1, are specifically relevant to parks and park users. Please see below for a list of updates and re-opening dates of park amenities. We appreciate your patience as we work through these changes: The Grand Ravines Dog Park has is now open.