My initial involvement with Ottawa County Parks was joining Friends of Ottawa County Parks and participating in some of their volunteer activities. Through that group, I learned of the Ottawa County Parks Foundation, with which I have also gotten involved with as both a donor and a volunteer. Before all of that I was already involved with Ottawa County Parks as a frequent park visitor.
I grew up here, and my mother and I would always go for a walk and picnic in one of the parks on Mother’s Day. In fact, one of our last outings together was to see the pussy willows at Hemlock Crossing. I support the parks so other families and friends have opportunities to make memories today and in the future.
To enable Ottawa County Parks to continue to care for our land, purchase more land, and make it accessible to visitors I chose to include the Ottawa County Parks Foundation in my living trust because of its mission, the people, and most importantly to provide people today and in the future with opportunities to get outside. There is something for everyone in our greenways; hiking, biking, snowshoeing, kayaking, birding, a variety of classes led by our knowledgeable group of naturalists, and lovely spots to sit and be still. Our parks are accessible to all whether you want to do a 10-minute walk on a paved trail or do a more rugged get-your-heart- pumping hike. I like to remind people that even ten minutes outside is better than no minutes outside. Being outside improves your mental and physical health.
Our history and our future are connected through these waters and green spaces. The Ottawa County Parks Foundation’s “Parks for Life “program uses its resources wisely to develop these connections. Please join me in supporting their work.
Featured Plant: Spring-beauty
by Bobbi Sabine
Wildflower lovers are so happy when April finally arrives! One of the leaders in the annual spring parade of blooms is the native spring-beauty (Claytonia virginiana). It’s common in most of the lower counties and can be found as far north as the western U.P.
There’s no mistaking this one: the five delicate petals are gaily striped with pink like a candy striper’s apron. Leaves are simple, narrow, and opposite. Blooming lasts just a few weeks, before overhead canopy trees leaf out. Then they die down to the ground after the seed capsule matures, though the seed capsule can still be observed into June. It’s typically found in rich
deciduous forests, and more rarely in wet woods. Farther north, it’s often associated with conifers.
Historically, spring-beauty roots have been used to treat convulsions and as contraception. Some Native American tribes used the leaves as poultices for eye problems and as a tonic for sore throats.
A perennial flower, they grow from tuberous corms which are said to be edible and comparable to a potato in texture and taste. In North Carolina they are sometimes called “Fairy Spuds.” Chipmunks and mice will eat the corms, and so could we… if we wanted to work very hard for our supper.
Photo Credit: B. Sabine
Join us Saturday, April 29 from 5 to 8 PM at the Hemlock Crossing Nature Education Center for the fourth annual Art for the Parks event. Last year’s event raised about $8,000 for the Ottawa County Parks Foundation.
Art for the Parks brings local artists, art patrons, and nature lovers together to benefit the Ottawa County Parks Foundation. This is LVAC’s fourth collaboration with the Ottawa County Parks Foundation and Ottawa County Parks.
There will be a cash bar, live music by Drew Nelson and Smoke N Ash will have their food truck in front of the Nature Center.
A $10 suggested donation at the door and a percentage of artists’ sales will benefit the Ottawa County Parks Foundation. Make your donation early and skip the line.
Park supporters who include the Ottawa County Parks Foundation in their planned and estate giving are members of Parks for Life. Gifts can include wills and bequests, appreciated stock, bond and mutual funds, charitable trusts, retirement accounts and life insurance. Parks for Life members are ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy our wonderful parks!
Featured Park: Hiawatha Forest
16777 Fillmore Street
West Olive, MI 49460
Located in Grand Haven Township, this 365-acre site is flat and wooded with both hardwood stands and red pine plantations. A very limited, unmarked trail system exists. Hiawatha Forest is an open space, so dogs are allowed on or off leash.
What can we say? This trail race is Grand: Grand River, Grand Ravines, Grand bridges, and Grand views!
The course starts at Grand River County Park winding you through a natural surface trail until you hit the newly completed Idema Explorers Trail segment that leads you along the Grand River to Grand Ravines County Park.
If you are running (or walking!) the 5K, you will turn around at this point. If you are running the 10K, you will continue to wind yourself through Grand Ravines Park, around the dog park, through the meadow, across the Idema suspension bridge, and back through the woods to Grand River Park. Sounds pretty grand, doesn’t it?
There is also a 1-mile kids run/walk.
To learn more and register, run over to the race website.
Proceeds from this event support the Ottawa County Parks Foundation.