Clearing GH Twp. paths

Emily of Grand Haven Township asked, "When is the township going to clear the snow and ice off the bike paths?"
Mark Brooky
Jan 6, 2014

She continued: "Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought they got some new little snowplows or something to keep the bike paths clear in the winter. Well, it wasn't done last winter and so far not this winter."


Emily, you are right that Grand Haven Township does have path-plowing equipment. However, you are wrong that they're not using it, township officials say.

Township Public Services Director Mark VerBerkmoes said his crew was out clearing intersection corners on Friday because Ottawa County Road Commission trucks cut back the snow banks to widen the intersections, resulting in snow placed on the paths.

Grand Haven Township maintains more than 23 miles of nonmotorized pathways and bridges. (See RELATED FILE below to download a map of the township's nonmotorized paths.) Last winter, township staff spent about 104 hours removing snow from them. This winter, they've already spent about 166 hours removing snow from paths and bridges.

Here's a further explanation on that subject, provided by VerBerkmoes:

"In general, the township’s pathways are typically plowed when there is an accumulation of 4 or more inches of snow. If the snow accumulation is 6 inches or less of light snow, it takes 8-10 working hours to clear the pathway with the V-plow and four hours to clear the bridges with a snow blower. Fifteen gallons of fuel are used.

"If the snow accumulation is 6-12 inches of light snow, it takes 16-20 working hours to clear the pathway using the snow blower and four hours to clear the bridges. Forty gallons of fuel are used.

"If the snow accumulation is more than 12 inches of heavy snow, it takes 24 or more working hours to clear the pathway using the snow blower and six hours to clear the bridges. Seventy gallons of fuel are used.

"Between snow events, (township) staff evaluates the paths to determine if snow removed from the roads and shoulders by the Ottawa County Road Commission has been placed or thrown onto the pathways, causing accumulation. This is extremely important in the areas where the paths and bridges are very close to the roadway, such as Mercury Drive, Little Pigeon, 168th Avenue, etc. Again, intersections are also monitored to evaluate if the Road Commission has cut back the banks and inadvertently placed snow onto the pathways.

"(Township) staff also evaluates the paths to determine if snow removed from the plowing of private driveways and roads has accumulated during removal or been piled onto the pathways. In these cases, contact is made with the property owner advising them that this is unacceptable and that they will need to remove the obstruction(s)."

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i would like to think that the roads are more important right now, its always after the storm


Even as a cyclist who rides in winter, I agree. Get the roads cleared first, and then worry about all the MUP's.


I agree, but I would rather see the joggers off the roads than in the roads running. Almost hit one today on Lakeshore Dr.


I lived in GH township for almost 10 years and the bike paths never got plowed. My middle school aged son had to walk home from White Pines in the road because they refused to plow the bike path on 168th. As far as the bicyclists..they don't use the bike paths in the summer so why should we plow them in the winter for them. It is supposed to be for walkers in the winter so they don't have to walk along the side of the road with all the inconsiderate drivers out there.


Many people are using ATVs with plows to clear their driveways such as myself. I've always thought about cruising around plowing the bike paths around my house but always worried about the legalities of it. The township should allow residents to volunteer to help out with clearing the snow.


right, i even have seen owners along lakeshore to volunteer to snow blow the paths along their property and even further down the road, far as mercury drive ?, i lived out there for awhile and the general rule, streets first, then bike paths, sometimes weeks latter, but more likley around the schools

Barry Soetoro

I thought the Road Commission is contracted to plow GHT roads. Something like eighty thousand the Township paid for that snow removal rig that sits in the garage. They can staff the leaf pile seven days a week in the fall but not run the snow machine in the winter? I find it hard to believe they've got 166 manhours in this winter as that machine hasn't been out but maybe three or four times.

Tri-cities realist

One guy driving, 2 others watching, you do the math

Barry Soetoro

Yeah that makes sense. Plus time spent arguing who gets to drive...

Tri-cities realist

Yep I forgot about that. But hopefully they don't yell "shotgun", that would probably land them in anger management classes...


Maybe the GH Twp firefighters could be out shoveling the snow covered fire hydrants. It seems with 2 guys on duty at a time along with the chief these personnel could be used more effective clearing hydrants or even plowing the Twp lots. That should get the maintenance crews out on the bike paths.


Wow... After reading these comments maybe you all should re-evaluate your opinions.. I do live in Gh twp and the staff have been doing great with the bike path from the beginning of clearing snow of it! Now for the roads ottawa county road commission takes care of the Twp. Roads .. So before blasting people that have nothing to do with roads open your eyes and the facts straight first.. I think the lady that is complaining is a resident that lives in port Sheldon on lake shore . Sorry I heard there budget went dry and they didn't clear off there bike if that is so , lady get your bearings straight!

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