Ottawa County News

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.

Please note the Nature Center remains closed.

New Phone Hours

Administrative staff are available by phone Monday-Friday from 9 am-4:30 pm by calling (616) 738-4810.

While the Nature Center is closed, Nature Center staff can be reached Monday-Friday from 9 am-4:30 at (616) 786-4847.


Most services Ottawa County Parks & Recreation provides can be completed online, including facility reservations and program registration (with the exception of cash facility reservations and program registration which must be made in person at the administrative office). Annual motor vehicle permits and permit violation transactions can be completed at the Lakeshore booths (more details below). Many of these services can also be completed over the phone.

Annual motor vehicle permits can be purchased at the following locations:

North Beach Park, 18775 North Shore Drive, Ferrysburg, MI 49409
Kirk Park, 9791 Lakeshore Drive, West Olive, MI 49460
Tunnel Park, 66 Lakeshore Drive N, Holland, MI 49424
Oaklea Store (near Riverside Park), 10398 N Cedar Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Permit violations transactions can be completed at the following locations:

North Beach Park, 18775 North Shore Drive, Ferrysburg, MI 49409
Kirk Park, 9791 Lakeshore Drive, West Olive, MI 49460
Tunnel Park, 66 Lakeshore Drive N, Holland, MI 49424

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.
  • Drinking fountains are currently undergoing required, annual Ottawa County Department of Public Health water testing and will be turned on as soon as possible.
  • Playgrounds are currently being re-opened; they should all be opened by June 3.
  • Kirk Park Dog Beach is open with limited hours due to high water. Dogs are allowed daily between 7-10 am and 7-10 pm. If dogs are not at the dog beach, they are required to be leashed (10’ max) and under control at all times. This includes walking to and from the beach.
  • Ottawa Beach Marina is tentatively planned to re-open to transient boaters on June 5. Reservations will be able to be made online.
  • New outdoor shelter reservations will resume July 1.
  • Reservation facilities with indoor spaces remain closed and we are not accepting new reservations at this time. More information to follow.
  • Summer Camps will likely resume in July. More information about programs and summer camps to follow. Sign up to receive email alerts for seasonal programs or summer camps

For questions related to a previously cancelled reservation or summer camp, email ocparks@miottawa.org. Be sure to include relevant information in your inquiry.  

To find information specific to the lakeshore and beach parks, click here.

Park visitors should continue to maintain appropriate social distancing while outdoors.  Thank you!

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Here are some guidelines to follow if you venture out to a park:

  • Go out only if you’re feeling healthy
  • If the park you normally visit is busy, please considering visiting another location – you can find our full list of properties here
  • Stay 6-10’ from others who are not in your household, on trails and in parking lots – you may step off the trail to allow others to pass with enough distance– you may step off the trail to allow others to pass with enough distance
  • Wash your hands before and after your visit
  • Pack out what you pack in

As the weather warms, ticks will return. Be sure to always check for ticks on yourself, children, and pets after you visit a park, especially if you have been off-trail. We recommend keeping a lint roller in the car to roll off clothes immediately following a hike, but it does not replace a more thorough tick check upon arriving home.

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. In the following email we have included information about:

  • Vehicle permits
  • Parking
  • Restrooms
  • Dogs
  • Beach etiquette

Lake Michigan Beach Park – Video Update

If you haven’t visited Lake Michigan in a while, our latest video update will give you an idea of the size of the beaches and how we are managing the continuously rising water levels.

 

Vehicle Permits

A motor vehicle permit (daily or annual) is required Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day at:

  • North Beach Park
  • Olive Shores
  • Kirk Park
  • Rosy Mound Natural Area
  • Tunnel Park
  • Riverside Park boat launch

Without one, you will be ticketed. Learn more about pricing and where you can purchase your pass hereMichigan State Parks Recreation Passport is not valid at Ottawa County Parks properties. 

Parking

Parking will be deliberately limited at all lakeshore parks due to smaller-than-usual beaches. You will be ticketed/cited for parking in an area that is not a designated parking spot or in any area marked No Parking. This includes roadside and parallel parking.  You may see “open” spots that have been blocked off, this was done intentionally to not overcrowd the beaches. Limited parking is temporary.

Restrooms

All restrooms are open

Dogs

The Kirk Park Dog Beach has re-opened with limited hours. Dogs are now permitted daily between the hours of 7-10 amd and 7-10 pm. If dogs are not at the dog beach, they are required to be leashed (10’ max) and under control at all times. This includes walking to and from the beach.

Beach Etiquette

Beaches are smaller this year than they have been in the last two decades. Prepare yourself for less room on the beach to spread out. With COVID being a concern in our community, smaller beaches have the potential to become more problematic. In addition to normal beach etiquette (e.g. no smoking, no loud music, no kicking or throwing sand at other beach goers), we have put together a list of things to keep in mind while visiting the beach:

  • Please keep six feet from other park users
  • Park staff cannot enforce social distancing – for serious complaints, you may contact: StayHomeStaySafeComplaints@miOttawa.org
  • Stay on park property (you can walk along the lakeshore, but be sure to set up your towel on park property, not the neighbor’s property – there are signs marking the end of park property on the beach)
  • Keep off the dune, do not make new trails or spots to lay your towel in the dune grass
  • Do not dig in to the sand cliff, falling sand can be extremely dangerous
  • Make sure to check our website before your visit in case of any changes or closures due to COVID or high water

Peak beach times are 11 am-1 pm every day, but especially on the weekends. To avoid the park during busier times, consider an early morning visit or an evening visit.

We know that this has been a time of heightened anxiety and frustration.

Please be kind to each other and to parks staff during your visit. 

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Original post from March 2, 2020

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. Here are things to keep in mind as you plan a visit to the beach this coming summer:

  • Trails may be closed! In some places, dune erosion has affected trails and boardwalks. Be sure to read posted signs when you arrive at these parks to see if there are any new closures.
  • With the closure of the Kirk Park Dog Beach stairs and the increasingly shrinking beach, we are going to do our best to balance both pet owners and sun bathers. Pet owners can use the north stairs to get to the dog beach and should follow signs and fencing south. Dogs must remain on-leash until you reach the dog beach area.
  • Visitors should not dig into or sit directly on or under the sand cliffs at the beach. Collapsing sand can be very dangerous.
  • Rental facilities at Tunnel Park, Kirk Park, and North Beach Park will still be available.
  • Please be respectful to each other and to neighbors. Make room for other beach goers and be mindful that your spot in the sun is on park property, not private property.

Vehicle permits will still be required Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Revenue from these permits will help support restoration of these properties when the water levels return to normal. Thank you for considering an annual or daily pass, even if the conditions are not optimal. You can purchase your Annual Motor Vehicle Permit online through May 15, 2020.