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.
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.
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 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.
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.