Subject: Latest News from Kent County Parks

August, 2016
Hello Friend!

What happened to the summer? It's hard to believe Labor Day is already upon us! The good news is that the heat and humidity are lightening up, making for many pleasant days ahead to enjoy our local parks and trails. Hopefully the news and updates below will inspire you to grab a friend and get a little dirty outdoors!

Meadows at Millennium Nearly Complete!

We’re wrapping up work on the new Meadows area at Millennium Park, on the east side of Maynard Ave. from the main recreation area. Parking lots are complete as well as most of the trails and walkways. The spectacular Universal Forest Products boardwalk and overlook are also open. Trees are planted and most of the open ground is seeded or sodded. The restrooms are complete though they will not be open for regular hours this season. The Grant Pavilion is also complete. With a capacity of 300 people (seated at tables) the Grant Pavilion is more than twice the size of our biggest picnic shelters. Moving forward, all large group events including trail walks and races will be based in the Meadows. We plan to begin taking 2017 reservations for the new facility this fall.
Chief Hazy Cloud Park
Proposed Expansion

Chief Hazy Cloud Park on the Grand River off Pettis Ave. started with just 1½ acres in 1927. A popular riverside destination, the park was expanded in 1944 and 1977 but still remained mostly a narrow tract of land, with 24 acres stretched along ½ mile of river frontage. Just downstream, large areas of undeveloped land are providing a unique opportunity to expand this park to create a regional recreational attraction. In 2008, we began this work by purchasing 98 acres of land, adding more than a third of a mile of river frontage. Now, we are seeking a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) to purchase 145 additional acres of wooded land, including about 1.3 more miles of river frontage. If successful, this effort will more than double both the size and the river frontage of the current park. Long term plans for the park would include mostly natural trails and boardwalks, as well as bike trail connections to local parks, trails and communities.

To receive the MNRTF grant, we'll need to provide a significant match of local dollars. The Kent County Parks Foundation is helping raise these additional funds. If you’d like to help in any way, please visit the KCPF website or call Kate at 458-2080. For updates, be sure to like us on Facebook!
Wabasis Boat Rentals

This summer we tested a new offering, with a soft “launch” of boat rentals at the beach at Wabasis Lake Park. With a 400 acre lake to explore, visitors have made good use of the new kayaks and rowboats! Rentals will be ending after Labor Day, so you still have a chance to come out and give it a try. Paddling around the lake will be especially pleasant now that the weather has cooled a bit! 

Our rates for single kayaks and rowboats are $12 for 2 hours, $20 for 4 hours, or $32 for a full day (10-6). Tandem kayaks are $16 for 2 hours, $28 for 4 hours, and $40 for full day. As always, the beach at Wabasis Lake Park is free of charge!
Millennium Park Beach
End-of-Season Dates

If you’re still planning a visit the beach at Millennium Park this season, here are some important dates to be aware of.

Our snack bar will be open August 26, 27 and 28. It will be closed August 29, 30 and 31 and Sept. 1, but will re-open for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-5. Beginning Sept. 6, the snack bar will be closed for the season.

The Splashpad will be closed for the season beginning Sept. 6, but the beach will be open free of charge (weather permitting) Sept. 6-11th. Metal Detecting also will be allowed at the beach Sept. 6-11th. Beginning September 12, the beach itself will be closed for the season.

For the time being, our Boating Center will remain open as weather permits. We’ll post a notice on our facebook page and on the Boating Center web page when we close for the season.
Project Updates
Like us on Facebook for more updates on these and other projects
Millennium Park Expansion
In our last issue we reported on a grant we’d submitted to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) to acquire 27 acres of undeveloped land at the western edge of Millennium Park. Now we are pleased to announce the grant has been awarded! We’re currently gathering the local funds needed to match the grant and expect to complete the purchase of this unique fen area later this year.

Caledonia Lakeside Park Expansion 
More good news: Caledonia Township also received the MNRTF grant they submitted to purchase undeveloped land on the north edge of Emmons Lake. While the Township will develop trails, Kent County Parks will manage most of the land, which will effectively expand the size of Caledonia Lakeside Park by 60%! This purchase is also expected to be completed later this year.

Pickerel Lake Boardwalk
Our project to replace the 900 ft floating boardwalk at Pickerel Lake Park is continuing and expected to be completed by winter. We made a lot of progress last winter while the lake was frozen. Over the summer, the pace slowed somewhat due to the challenges of working over open water and the high water levels we experienced through the season. Now we’re moving forward again and park visitors can expect to see more of the boardwalk completed with each visit to Pickerel Lake!

Volunteer News

Thank you to students, educators, corporate and community groups, scouts, Master Naturalists, park neighbors and Park Stewards who volunteered at more than twenty different park sites this summer! KCP volunteers planted trees and flowers, cleaned up green spaces and trails, and worked on many recreational and environmental projects.

Want to have fun while making a difference this fall? Plan a "Fall Park Clean Up" project at your favorite Kent County Park this September! Or join a team of volunteers for one of our October habitat support projects that include working with Master Naturalists to help control Autumn Olive; planting Native Species at Townsend Park; or harvesting Native Prairie seeds at Millennium Park!

Contact KCP Volunteer Services at 616-632-7842 or park.volunteers@kentcountymi.gov for a list of event dates or to plan your fall volunteer project! You can also join our e-mail list to be notified of upcoming opportunities!
Project Johnson
Renovating the Disc Golf Course at Johnson Park

We're hoping for some exciting renovations soon to the disc golf course at Johnson Park in anticipation of the 2017 Professional Disc Golf Association Masters World Championships. The tournaments are to be held next August at several Kent County area courses, including Johnson Park. You can be a part of this great opportunity for our community by donating to Project Johnson.

Project Johnson is a crowdfunding effort with the Kent County Parks Foundation and Grand Rapids Disc Golfers Unite disc golf club hoping to reach a goal of $10K in the next two months. Funds will go towards replacing all 18 baskets, tee pads, and tee markers as well as adding more trash cans throughout the course. Donating at certain levels can also get you limited edition Project Johnson discs, apparel, or feature you or your business on course signage. A complete breakdown of the costs and perks can be found on the Project Johnson Razoo page.
More KCPF Fundraising Projects and Events

In addition to the project to renovate the disc golf course at Johsnon Park, the Kent County Parks Foundation is seeking donations for other goals including the expansion of Chief Hazy Cloud Park, land acquisition system-wide, and efforts to connect the Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail to the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail in the Walker/Comstock Park area. For more information or to help, please visit our website or call Kate at 458-2080. This October, we'll also be hosting kayak tours of Chief Hazy Cloud Park. To keep up to date on all our activities, please visit KCPF on facebook!
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1700 Butterworth Dr SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534, United States
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