Ottawa County News

Macatawa Greenway Expansion

An agreement has been reached to purchase a small, but important property along the Macatawa River Greenway. The parcel, near Hawthorn Pond Natural Area, includes both river frontage, floodplain, and some wooded area. Keep an eye out for the official announcement of this acquisition.
Riverside Park BioBlitz – Grand River Greenway On June 12 (time TBD), Ottawa County Parks will be hosting its first-ever BioBlitz at Riverside Park (from pre-dawn to dusk). This event will bring local scientists and conservation organizations together to work with community members to build an awareness of the biodiversity along the Grand River while collecting monitoring data.

Spokes Fighting Strokes

Spokes Fighting Strokes Grand River Greenway Event July 25, 2021 (time TBD)  at Connor Bayou Rain date July 27 Join us for a social ride and a dose of inspiration! Local stroke survivors can test ride a trike at Connor Bayou and along the Idema Explorers Trail. Following the ride, we’ll hear from Dan Zimmerman and how he’s changing lives across the nation.
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Welcome Kate Harmon

Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission welcomes new member, Kate Harmon Kate Harmon has lived in Ottawa County for over fifteen years while working at Grand Valley State University. Currently serving as the Director of Recreation and Wellness, Harmon’s role includes program evaluation and assessment, budgeting and financial oversight, strategic planning and project management, and facility oversight and risk mitigation.
snowy owl

Safe and Respecful Snowy Owl Viewing

Observing a Snowy owl in the wild is a truly thrilling experience, but we must remember to keep our excitement in check and use caution when viewing and photographing this animal. As human stewards of these majestic owls, we are responsible to respect them by putting their needs ahead of our own desires to see them or photograph them up close.

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.
Project Update – January 14, 2021 Shoreline improvement In November 2020, we began the ambitious task of planting 2,000 southern-species trees along the Grand River shoreline at Eastmanville Farm to improve stabilization and prevent erosion. Volunteers from Herman Miller and Grand Valley State University planted 900 trees, and our Park Stewards planted the remaining 1,100 trees.

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. Coffee with the Birds – LIVESTREAM! 3/6/21 @ 9:30 am – The FINAL CwB Livestream Even of this winter season!  Don’t miss out! Tune in for the Livestream, or, if you can’t make it, tune in later for the recorded event.

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:

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: To register for public programs with Ottawa County Parks:

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.