Along the banks of the Grand River, just upstream from Grand Haven’s famous musical fountain, along a cut-out in the river known as “the sag,” is a mysterious mile of shoreline that has been off-limits to the public for many decades.
The property is 345 acres and sits between the Kitchel Lindquist Hartger Dune Preserve and Ottawa County’s 513 acre North Ottawa Dunes natural area. The site has long been used for sand mining, but has been inactive in recent years. Now, for the first time, and with your help, the public could finally have the opportunity to experience the natural beauty this property holds. Ottawa County Parks and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, working in partnership, have a limited-time opportunity to save it from future development and preserve it for public enjoyment.
The Ottawa Sands property includes one mile of Grand River frontage, an 80-acre lake, and 219 acres of designated critical dunes providing habitat for wildlife and migratory birds. Without protection, Ottawa Sands could be lost to development or continued sand mining.
The protection of Ottawa Sands as a public green space would create a corridor of parks and preserved natural areas totaling over 2000 acres, stretching from P.J. Hoffmaster State Park all the way to the Grand River. This corridor would provide tremendous opportunities for outdoor recreation including hiking, wildlife viewing, boating, fishing, and camping.
Once protected, Ottawa County will begin a planning process to develop publicly accessible facilities on the property as well as additional recreational opportunities.
Ottawa County Parks submitted an application to the Natural Resources Trust Fund for $4 million and a decision on that will be made in December of 2018. In the meantime, The Land Conservancy needs to raise a minimum of $200,000 of additional public funds to complete the project. In order to ensure the Trust Fund will look favorably on the project and recommend the final grant to pay back the loan, it is it crucial there is a wide show of public support. The more that is raised prior to the Trust Fund’s decision, the more likely the Trust Fund will recommend a grant to complete the project.
This opportunity would not be possible without support from The Conservation Fund, a national organization that specializes in conservation loans.