Subject: Kent County Parks - March 2016 News

March, 2016
Spring Greetings Friend!

Ok, so maybe Spring isn't here yet, but it's just around the corner. Although our parks don't fully open until May 1, many are available to explore now. With warm weather ahead this a great time to shake off that cabin fever. Maybe a picnic is in order!

Groundhog Day Marathon

Since 2013, the Groundhog Day Marathon has been an annual February tradition at Millennium Park. Despite snow-covered conditions the course is certified, allowing intrepid runners to qualify for the Boston Marathon by completing six loops of approximately 4.4 miles each. This year, more than 400 runners competed, from 15 different states, plus Canada and even Ireland! More than 100 Michigan cities were represented. Next year’s race will take place on Saturday February 4. For more information, visit www.groundhogmarathon.com.
DNR grant received for Millennium Park

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board recently announced its recommendations for 2016 grants to improve parks across the state. If the State legislature finalizes these recommendations, Kent County Parks will receive a $276,000 grant to acquire 27 acres west across the lake from the beach. This land is among the most natural, untouched areas within the park’s footprint, and includes a unique fen environment. With an unusual blend of soil and hydrology, the fen offers diverse habitats that are home to a rich array of native plant species and a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Plans include extending the natural-surfaced Hansen Nature Trail into the area, allowing visitors to explore this unique natural area.
Caledonia Lakeside Park Expansion

The Michigan Natural Resources Board has also recommended a grant to Caledonia Township, allowing the township to acquire key parcels of undeveloped land on the north side of Emmons Lake, between Kent County’s Caledonia Lakeside Park and the Township Library. Kent County will manage most of this land as part of the park, increasing the size of the park by nearly 60%! The Township will develop new trails on the parcel, including a connection between the library and the main recreation area of Caledonia Lakeside Park.
Volunteer Opportunities and Events

Spring is coming soon! Here are some opportunities to get outdoors, help our parks and learn something new!
  • Annual Kaufman Golf Course Clean Up and Grill Out Saturday, March 19th, 2016 from 10 am to 1 pm (weather permitting, registration required).
  • Annual Kent County Parks Spring Clean in April and May. Pick a date, choose a park site, plan a project!
  • Garlic Mustard Challenge Pull at Seidman Park, Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 10 am to noon.
  • Discover! Millennium Park’s Hansen Nature Trail event, Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free and fun nature exploration experience! (Located at the corner of Butterworth Dr and Riverbend Dr.)
For more information on volunteer projects and events, please visit www.KentCountyParks.org/volunteer or send a note to park.volunteers@kentcountymi.gov.
Project Updates
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Pickerel Lake Boardwalk
Despite the cold and ice, the new boardwalk at Pickerel Lake has been stretching further across the lake throughout the winter. Construction will be completed later this year. In this photo (facing toward the parking lot) you can see the old boardwalk on the right, closer to shore.

Meadows at Millennium Park
Progress has also continued on the new Meadows project at Millennium Park. Initial grading is now complete and some of the new features are beginning to take shape, including this elevated boardwalk. Work is also moving along on the parking lots and trails. The Meadows is slated to be completed and open to the public later this summer.

Wabasis Lake Campground Improvements
This winter we've also been making improvements to facilities at Wabasis Lake Campground, including updates to the rental cottage and the shower building. At the end of this year we'll also be upgrading service to 50 amps for all electric hook-up campsites!

2016 Grand Rapids
Conservation Collective

The Kent County Parks Foundation is hosting an event on March 31st celebrating collaborations in the Grand Rapids Conservation Community. The 2016 Grand Rapids Conservation Collection is an opportunity for volunteers, members, supporters and the public to learn more at an informal open house at The Cheney Place from 4:30pm-6:30pm. Guests will learn about region-wide volunteer opportunities and upcoming projects to positively impact the environment here in West Michigan. The event is free with drinks and light refreshments provided.

Participating organizations include: Kent County Parks Foundation, Blandford Nature Center, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, John Ball Zoo, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds, and Kent County Parks Volunteer Services. For more information, please visit KCPF on facebook.
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1700 Butterworth Dr SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534, United States
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