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Stakeholders seek support for Ottawa Sands park

Alexander Sinn • Sep 1, 2018 at 12:00 PM

A new Ottawa County park featuring an 80-acre lake, dune trails and views of the Grand River and Lake Michigan will open to the public Oct. 15.

The only problem: It hasn’t been fully paid for.

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan wants to raise $200,000 of public funds to convince the state’s Natural Resources Trust Fund to grant $4 million to Ottawa County Parks to complete the purchase.

The Land Conservancy and Ottawa County Parks partnered in 2017 to acquire the property from the Ottawa Sands Co. The state trust fund granted $4.2 million to the county parks system for half the property, while the Land Conservancy secured a loan for $4 million from the Conservation Fund to secure the property until the county can acquire the remainder of its funding. 

“The more support we can gain right now from the community, the more likely the trust fund will be to recommend that grant in the winter,” said Colin Hoogerwerf, communications director for the Land Conservancy.

The 345-acre property, located between the Kitchel-Lindquist Dune Preserve and the North Ottawa Dunes natural area, could one day connect the parks by a trail system and could become home to fishing, boating and a potential campground.

“When people come here Oct. 15, it’ll be a chance to see what’s here and what could be if this property is permanently secured,” Hoogerwerf said.

The lake will be open in October to catch-and-release fishing. Trails surrounding the lake will be open, but signage and maintenance of the property will have to await funding, according to Ottawa County Parks Communications Director Jessica Van Ginhoven.

“Eventually, when we own the entire property, we’ll be able to do a master plan and talk about what this will be developed into, what it will look like in the future,” she said.

To donate, visit https://naturenearby.org/get-involved/donate/ottawa-sands/.

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