Thank you to all of the runners, volunteers, and sponsors who came out and enjoyed two of the great Ottawa County parks. It was a beautiful morning and we were delighted with the great turnout. From the smiles of the young runners as they completed the fun run under the finishing arch to the determination shown by the 10K runners as we told them there was one more hill before they could finish, it was fun to watch the joy, excitement, fortitude and camaraderie of the day.
We received many positive comments about how beautiful the trails were. The continued work towards the completion of the Idema Explorer’s Trail made this race possible. The section along the river was just completed last fall and that one is a gem. In the next few years you will be able to run all the way to Lake Michigan in Grand Haven on this trail. If you enjoyed running through the parks there are many great programs for kids and adults in the parks throughout the year.
While the 5K was mostly flat, we’re sure you will all agree that the hill by the Grand Ravines Lodge is a challenge. The 10K course was difficult but gave an even better sampling of the parks’ single-track trails (and the hills). In the words of one runner “the last hill of the 10K was enlightening.” It wasn’t necessarily our goal to help people become enlightened but we are happy to have helped. For those of you who are new to trail running, we hope the brief introduction to the natural surface will inspire you to get back out there. There are many great dirt trails in West Michigan and beyond that run through incredible scenery.
Pussytoes (Antennaria spp.) gets its name from the flower resembling the soft pads of a kitten’s toes: soft, silky, and eminently pettable.
In Michigan, the most common of our four known species is smooth pussytoes (A. parlinii), found throughout the state, growing just about everywhere between Monroe County and the tip of the Keweenaw peninsula. Its habitat varies widely from lawns to rock outcrops to savannas to forests. We have three other species (A. parvifolia, A. howelii, and A. neglecta), in addition to several subspecies, but they are all much less common. There is actually a fifth, rosy pussytoes (A. rosea) with distinctly pink flowers, which is believed to be extirpated: such a shame for a plant with such a charming name. However, the nursery industry has preserved this one and you can purchase cultivars.
Other common names include catsfoot or cat’s-foot and everlasting. A native to the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, there are dozens of different species across the U.S. and Canada. I have used it as a native ground cover between stepping stones, for which it seems quite well suited. It’s drought tolerant, and in the absence of competition, forms a dense mat that mostly excludes weeds.
The word Antennaria refers to the projecting stamens developed on some flowers that resemble insect antennae. These plants were used historically for coughs, colds, bruises, as a post-childbirth tonic for mothers, and to treat snakebite. However, there is no scientific evidence that the plant is effective for treating any of these conditions.
Photo Credit: R.W. Smith, U of M
The Park Sustainers Club is a unique group of donors whose monthly investment allows us to complete special projects that can’t be accomplished within the County Parks’ budget, like building trail connections, adding land, and upgrading facilities.
Featured Park: Riverside Park
10317 North Cedar Dr.
Grand Haven, MI 49417
With nearly one mile of frontage along the south bank of the Grand River, this 64-acre park is the perfect place for picnicking, boating, or fishing. The park includes a boat launch (fee required), picnic shelter, large pond with a barrier-free fishing dock and over 1,000 feet of grassy picnic area along the riverbank. Fishing is allowed along the riverbank and from the edge of the pond.