Ottawa County News

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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.

Stay Home, Stay Safe: Park Guidelines


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! Watch more of our  online nature programs (including Virtual Birding Walks!) here.

mi Ottawa Sands

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.

Bringing Nature to You

Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), our Nature Center has closed and programs have been cancelled through April 30. Even though we can’t bring you nature programs in person, we are going to bring nature to you! Tune in on our Facebook page to enjoy some of our programming. If you can’t tune in at the scheduled time, don’t fret, we’ll post the videos here! Scroll down to find them.

Riverside Restoration Update

Using a Sustain Our Great Lakes Program grant through the National Fish & Wildlife Service, we have completed hundreds of feet of shoreline erosion control at Riverside Park. The grant was awarded to cover 500′ of shoreline work, but due to high water levels nearly 850′ of shoreline has eroded.
As you are surely aware, the water level on Lake Michigan is extremely high. This will continue to affect our lake shore parks by drastically reducing the size of our beaches, eroding dunes (and trails), limiting special uses, and in some cases, removal of wood stairs and boardwalks. We are committed to to providing safe beach access to all of our Lake Michigan properties, even under trying conditions.

2020 Spring Stewardship Workdays

Stewardship Workdays Help us care for the parks you love! Here’s what you should know about Stewardship Workdays: Bring work gloves (preferably leather), insect repellent, and appropriate attire for the outdoors. All tools, drinking water, and snacks will be provided. No preregistration is required. All ages welcome; 16 and under must be with an adult. Work days are cancelled if raining (or snowing).
Did you know that acquisition and improvements at Stearns Creek Park were funded in part by private donations? Only a very small percentage of millage funds were used. Learn how to stretch your tax dollars and support your parks through the Ottawa County Parks Foundation.  To encourage the growth of native prairie species, the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission will be removing old pine plantations at Stearns Creek Park.
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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.

Macatawa Greenway Trail 1.0

Working with our partners in the Holland Area, the Parks & Recreation Commission is developing a multi-use trail along the Macatawa River that will connect Paw Paw Park, Adams Street Landing, and Upper Macatawa Natural Area to the Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail in Zeeland Charter Township, downtown Holland, and the Lake Michigan shoreline. In partnership with the Outdoor Discovery Center the Parks & Recreation Commission developed the Macatawa Green Trail 1.0.
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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.