Subject: March News from Kent County Parks

March 2015
Dear Friend,

With the winter weather finally on its way out, we have some springtime news to share with you! Spring cleanup projects have been announced, and we have many openings for seasonal jobs.

Here are a few quick news items to get you ready for what's in store for 2015!

Runners Brave Cold, Wind for Boston Qualifier at Millennium

With the weather warming up over the past few days, we've seen a lot of Kent County residents out enjoying the spring warm up on our trails. However, these visitors haven't been our first trail runners of the year.

On February 1st, hundreds of runners from across the nation gathered at the Millennium trail head to run in the annual Groundhog's Day Marathon. Racers from as far away as California and Texas tried their luck at the notoriously cold and challenging race.

Ultimately, it was the Michiganders that came up on top with nine of the overall top 
ten hailing from Michigan (two were from Grand Rapids). The overall winner, Naseem Rayyan of Ypsilanti, finished with an impressive time of 3 hours and 17 minutes.

Additional coverage can be found on ESPN and MLive
      Image taken by Joel Bissell |

Now Hiring Seasonal Staff

The Kent County Parks Department has a variety of positions open this season for hard working individuals that have a passion for our county's excellent parks and trails.

Positions are varied, with opportunities like greens keeping at Kaufman Golf Course, staffing the snack bar at Millennium Park, working in the Wabasis Campground store, mowing parks, and maintaining trails.

Applications must be submitted online and candidates can indicate a preferred park on their application. Click here to see the position descriptions and to apply.
Volunteers News

Daylight hours are getting longer and Spring is just about here! In great anticipation of the vernal equinox, we are busy making plans for some exciting Kent County Park volunteer events and projects.

These upcoming projects includes the Kaufman Golf Course Clean Up and Grill Out, as well as the annual Spring Clean Event, which runs through May and includes sprucing up County Park green spaces, building trails, pulling Garlic Mustard, and more! 

For more information or sign up to receive notifications of upcoming volunteer projects, contact Ginny Sines at 616-632-7842 or
Discover! 2015

Park lovers of all ages are invited to the annual “Discover! Millennium Park’s Hansen Nature Trail” event on Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a fun and free outdoor experience that includes hosted nature stations.

Crowd favorite stations from last year (such as the amphibian station and the bird station) will return this year, along with new stations that touch on different topics. New topics this year include:
To keep up to date on this upcoming event, like Discover! on Facebook. We hope to see you out this May!
Kaufman Golf Course Mentioned in National Trade Publication

This February, Kaufman Golf Course Superintendent Mike Leavitt was quoted in Superintendent, a trade magazine that discusses the finer aspects of maintaining a golf course.

The article, "Portrait of the Industry," mentions the systematic steps Kaufman has implemented in recent years to maintain a high quality golfing experience. You can read the whole article online HERE
Kent County Parks Foundation Welcomes New Executive Director

The Kent County Parks Foundation is pleased to announce that Kate Woodhams is taking over as Executive Director, effective March 18th. Most recently, Kate worked as Development and Events Manager for the Fenner Conservancy. With a BS from MSU, she also has served as Program Manager at Fenner and in volunteer roles with several Michigan environmental groups. Kate’s skills at building collaborative relationships with outside organizations and agencies, and her enthusiasm for inspiring community members to become philanthropists and volunteers will serve the Foundation well.

The Kent County Parks Foundation supports the acquisition of new park lands to expand Kent County Parks, and also improvement projects for existing county parks and trails. For more information, please visit their website, and send a note to Kate at
Coming Up in 2015...
Like us on Facebook for more updates on these upcoming projects

Pickerel Lake Park
We'll be replacing the entire floating boardwalk! To minimize disruption, the new boardwalk will be constructed alongside the old one before the old one is removed, but the route will be closed for a time during construction.

Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail
This is the connector trail in Walker that eventually will link the Musketawa Trail to the Fred Meijer White Pine State Trail. Currently it runs between the Musketawa Trail and Miejer Headquarters at Walker Ave. and 3 Mile Rd. This year we'll be extending the trail west along 3 Mile Rd to Alpine Ave.

Millennium Park Meadows 
Work will begin this spring to develop the area on the east side of Maynard Ave across from the main recreation area at the park. Improvements will include trails and a large open shelter for group events.

Chief Hazy Cloud Park Expansion
Kent County Parks is submitting a grant application to the Michigan DNR Trust Fund that would nearly double the size of this park and more than double its frontage on the Grand River. Someday, Chief Hazy Cloud could be the "go-to" park for trails and river access in eastern Kent County!

Millennium Park Expansion
We are also hoping to receive DNR grant funding to acquire two significant parcels of woods and wetlands across the lake from the beach.

M-6 Trail Connector Between Division Ave and US-131
This is the final link to create a safe permanent connection between the east and west segments of the M-6 Trail. This section will involve two big bridges, one over a creek and another over an active railroad. This is another project for which we are seeking grant funding in 2015.