Subject: April News from Kent County Parks

April, 2014
Dear Friend,

We're thinking positively with this photo of trout lillies and spring beauties at Wahlfield Park: Despite our touch of snow earlier this week, Spring IS here! Below are some quick updates and spring opportunities with Kent County Parks.

Seasonal Jobs Still Available
Each year, Kent County Parks employs about 140 seasonal staff to work at our parks, golf course, campground, beaches and trails. Most of the work is outdoors, helping to maintain our grounds and facilities. We also have many front counter positions where retail experience is a plus. Starting wage is $8.25 per hour. We still have slots open; maybe you know a college student or outdoor enthusiast looking for summer work? Applications must be submitted online. For more information and to apply, please visit Kent County's Job Opportunities page. You can name a specific park you'd like to work at in the comments/hobbies section of the application.

Spring Hours at Kent County Parks

Officially, Kent County Parks are open dawn to sunset from May 1 through October 31. We open earlier if we can, but our buildings are unheated so we need to be sure temperatures won’t dip below freezing before we activate wells and put plumbing systems back together. We have 31 wells and restrooms to activate and all our restrooms have multiple fixtures. Also, all water must pass quality and safety tests before buildings can open to the public. There isn’t a simple switch to flick on. We also need seasonal labor to open and operate parks and our budget just doesn’t allow us to bring on these staff to fully open in March or April.

Most parks do allow access and use even if restrooms and gates are closed. Sometimes seasonal conditions such as soggy trails require that we temporarily close trails. A directory of all Kent County parks is available online.

Volunteer Opportunities

A big thank you to volunteers who helped kick off the 2014 Volunteer Services season by contributing to a spring clean up project!

If you'd like to have fun while helping our parks, you're invited to register for an upcoming event! These include:
  • Garlic Mustard Challenge at Seidman Park on Sat, April 26
  • Discover! Millennium Park’s Hansen Nature Trail nature program on Sat, May 17
  • Kent Trails Clean Up on Sat, May 31
  • Annual Trail Building Project on Sat, June 7.
For more information on times and registration for these events, or to sign up to receive notifications of other upcoming volunteer projects, contact Ginny Sines at 616-632-7842 or

Update: Wabasis Boat Ramp Construction

Now that the snow and ice have cleared out, we're ready to begin the reconstruction of the boat ramp at Wabasis Lake Park. As soon as seasonal road restrictions are removed, heavy equipment will come in to start taking out the old ramp.  Construction of the new ramp and shoreline improvements will begin shortly after.  We're still on target to reopen the ramp by Memorial Day weekend. Our next newsletter won't come out until June but we'll post updates as we get closer to Memorial Day on the Wabasis Lake Park webpage, on the Wabasis Facebook page and on the Kent County Parks main Facebook page.

Update: Luton Park 10 Mile Road Trailhead

Here's another project just getting underway now that winter is on the run. Clearing work has begun at the site of the new trailhead off 10 MIle Rd. Once cleared, the site will be regraded as necessary for the new parking lot. A left turn lane also will be added on 10 Mile Rd. to improve access to the park. We'll have more progress to report next issue.

In the meantime, as of today (April 17), all trails at Luton Park are now open for the season. Trails had been closed during the thaw due to wet muddy conditions.
Two Rivers Grant Application

Last issue we mentioned that we're working on a significant expansion for the future Two Rivers Park at the confluence of the Coldwater and Thornapple Rivers in Caledonia Township. Over the past two months, we've moved a little closer to that goal. With approval of the Kent County Board of Commissioners, we've submitted a grant application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The DNR will decide on that application this fall. We've also been fortunate to receive pledges local foundations to assist with the purchase, if we are able to secure the DNR grant. We'll keep our fingers crossed and keep you updated in future editions of Green Places.
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