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. Thanks to a partnership project between Ottawa County Parks and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, the public finally has the opportunity to experience the natural beauty this property holds.
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 would be lost to development or continued sand mining.
The protection of Ottawa Sands as a public green space creates a corridor of parks and preserved natural areas totaling over 2,000 acres, stretching from P.J. Hoffmaster State Park all the way to the Grand River. This corridor holds tremendous opportunities for outdoor recreation including hiking, wildlife viewing, boating, fishing, and camping.
Once the Michigan legislature approves the grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Ottawa County will begin a planning process to develop publicly accessible facilities on the property as well as additional recreational opportunities.
This opportunity would not be possible without support from The Conservation Fund, a national organization that specializes in conservation loans.
This project made possible in part with support from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund; Ottawa Sand Company; Loutit Foundation; Ottawa County Parks Foundation; J.A. Woollam Foundation; the North Bank Communities Fund, Greatest Needs Fund, Environment Fund and the William T. and Shirley A. Baker Fund of the Grand Haven Community Foundation.