Ottawa County News

mi Ottawa Sands

Get involved in the Ottawa Sands Master Plan! Photovision Challenge What does YOUR Ottawa Sands County Park look like? Post photos to your Instagram account and describe what you like to do at the park, what could be improved at the park, or what you wish you could do at the park. Submit your entry by following @miottawa_sands and tag us in your photo. DM us your picture and comment.

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.

Lake Michigan Beach Update

Update#4 – June 5, 2020 2020 has been a year like none other. Between COVID and record-high water levels, your visit to the beach will be different than in years past.
Update: Restoration work at Stearns Creek will begin Monday, May 18, 2020. Please take note that trails may be closed in areas where the contractor is working.  To encourage the growth of native prairie species, the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission will be removing old pine plantations at Stearns Creek Park. This will improve the health of the land and hopefully restore one of Michigan’s once abundant but now rare ecosystems: the oak savanna.
Did you know? If you’d like to incorporate native trees and plants in your yard, you can purchase them in the spring and fall while supporting your local conservation district! Most of us have done it. Sneak some seeds from a flower. Take a few flowers home to our mom. All because we love nature and want to bring a piece back with us.
garlic mustard
We are unable to host large groups of volunteers right now (we miss you all!), but that doesn’t mean that all stewardship activities have to come to a halt. Here are ways you can support your parks with you’re out on a walk! Garlic Mustard Removal In the spring we usually have thousands of volunteers that help us remove garlic mustard. They have helped make some of our parks effectively invasive free.

Bringing Nature to You

We are building a library of online programs and Bringing Nature to You! Explore the different habitats in Michigan from the comfort of your own home. Each habitat and topic will include informational videos and fun activities for people of all ages including read alouds, programs, and scavenger hunts. We’ll continue to develop and add content, so please bookmark this page! Looking for more nature videos? Check out our Backyard Birding videos.

Backyard Birding

The Ottawa County Parks Nature Center is closed, so our resident birder and Parks Naturalist Curtis Dykstra, set up some of the feeders at home so he could share them with you! You can find more of our online nature programs by clicking here.
north beach park

2020 Ottawa County Resident Survey

The Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission is preparing its five-year Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Plan that will be released in 2021. “Our five-year plan is crucial to the success of our parks system,” said Jason Shamblin, Ottawa County Parks Director.

Local History

Michigan’s (and Ottawa County’s) history is rich with the stories of the voyageurs. For a century and a half Michigan’s life centered in the fur trade. Its French pioneers, suffering great hardships, worked side by side with the “black robes” at the trading post, the mission chapel, and the forest fort. The chief markets were Sault Ste. Marie, Mackinac, and Detroit, but there were also important posts in the St. Joseph and Grand River Valleys.

Michigan Geology

We are working on this page! You’ll be able to discover more parks information here soon. Sign up for our NaturE-mail to be alerted when this page is live.

Great Lakes Dunes

Great Lakes Sand Dunes are like nothing else in the world! You can’t find freshwater dunes anywhere else in the world! They aren’t just where you find sand, but plants and animals that have adapted to live in a harsh ecosystem! Below you’ll find a list of dune resources including scavenger hunts, stories, art ideas, fun videos, and much more.


Meadow habitats are teeming with life! They aren’t just where you find grasses, but wildflowers, birds, snakes, and mammals too! Below you’ll find a list of meadow resources including: videos, crafts, and articles.


Forest habitats are full of life! They aren’t just where you find trees, but wildflowers, birds, turtles, salamanders, and mammals too! Below you’ll find a list of forest resources including scavenger hunts, stories, art ideas, fun videos, and much more.

Wetlands & Waterways

Wetlands & waterway habitats are teaming with an abundance of life! From cattail marshes and muddy, forested swamps to frog ponds, bubbling streams and fishing lakes, we are surrounded by water here in Michigan! Below you’ll find a list of wetland & waterway resources including scavenger hunts, stories, art ideas, fun videos, and much more.