At a Glance
- West Entrance: 1300 – 84th Ave., Zeeland, MI 49464
- East Entrance: 2171 – 76th Ave., Zeeland, MI 49464
- This former cow pasture-turned-county park near Zeeland was returned to fields and wetlands. It meanders to miles of the Macatawa River, attracting a variety of wading and grassland birds. It offers extensive hiking and mountain biking trails.
- Trail length: 5 miles.
- For more information, visit Ottawa County Parks & Recreation.
What to See
The Upper Macatawa Natural Area is popular among bikers, hikers and runners. The park offers a variety of habitats including forests, grasslands, and wetlands.
One of the primary goals in acquiring the property was to improve the water quality of the Macatawa River and downstream Lake Macatawa that were impaired by the previous owner’s dairy farm operations. Along the Macatawa River, the natural area’s wetlands act as a sponge and filter during heavy rains and contribute to water quality improvement.
The Upper Macatawa Natural Area is an ongoing experiment in restoration, but the improvement in wildlife habitat and bird diversity has been dramatic.
In the spring of 2015, a new section of paved bike path will connect Adams Street’s bike path to the lakeshore with Byron Road’s Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail which leads to Kent County.
Through the purchase of conservation easements on the properties in 2005 and 2007, the Land Conservancy helped Ottawa County Parks & Recreation acquire 314 acres of this property along the Macatawa or Black River just east of Zeeland and Interstate I-196.
From US-31, travel east on 16th (Adams) to 84th. Travel north on 84th a half mile to the west entrance. From I-196 to exit 55 and travel east on Byron Road to 76th Avenue. Take 76th south to the east entrance.