Stearns Creek Park in Robinson Township is among the most biodiverse locations in the parks system, according to county officials, and will be largely natural when it has its first visitors.
A dedication ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 27. That will be followed by a sneak peek of the property, which the county acquired from three landowners in March.
The site features 118 acres at the south end of Stearns Bayou, including 6,350 feet of frontage along Stearns Creek and nearly 27 acres of wetland.
Officials said demolition of buildings on the property began Monday, while a garage will remain on the site. Part of the new Helstrom Family Trail System and signage will be ready for visitors, which were constructed with the help of students. The Ottawa County Parks Foundation funded kiosks with trailhead maps.
The trails will take visitors through natural ravines with mature forests and the former Vollmer family farm, gifted from the heirs of John J. Helstrom through the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. A member of the Vollmer Family is expected to speak at the dedication.
Acquisition of the park was funded by $552,250 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant program and a grant of $528,000 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. County officials said the national funding was due to the pristine nature of the land, much of which has not been impacted since the logging era.
Natural restoration will be conducted at the farm and wetlands to foster native plants and habitat, officials said. The site may also provide opportunities like fishing and kayaking and overlooks for birding, and could provide a hunting area for the archery deer season.
The park entrance is located at 13584 136th Ave., at the corner of Johnson Street.