Construction on a 36.5-mile, non-motorized, multi-use, paved trail along the Grand River in Ottawa and Kent Counties is almost finished!

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According to Ottawa County, work on the pathway, the Idema Explorers Trail, is well underway with many segments already in use.

Ottawa County
Ottawa County

In fact, it was back in 1989 that the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission first identified the concept for the Grand River Greenway, of which the trail is a part. The Grand River Greenway contains 9,000 acres of public land between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven.

Idema Explorers Trail Map, Ottawa County
Idema Explorers Trail Map, Ottawa County

The Idema Explorers Trail passes through and connects eight county and state parks. Visitors are invited to explore the trail on foot, by bike, or by kayak.

This past December, the Ottawa County Parks Department shared,

Over the past two decades, a primary focus of the Ottawa County Parks Department has been its $41 million Grand River Greenway Initiative, with the goal of protecting thousands of acres of natural lands, creating green infrastructure, developing new recreational opportunities, and connecting communities. This investment will connect the greenway properties to each other, and completing the most critical remaining unfinished link in the regional pathway system – a trail (the Idema Explorers Trail) connecting Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Grand Valley State University.

In the latest update, from early June of this year, Ottawa County said construction had begun on the Bill Idema Moraine Nature Segment that connects Grand Ravines to Grand River Park along the river.

Located near Grand Valley State University in Allendale, below are the planned features for the Bill Idema Moraine Nature Segment:

  • Scenic riverside/waterfront views
  • Ascent/descent from top of ravines to river level
  • Connects Grand River Park to Grand Ravines
  • New trailhead access planned at Grand River Park
  • Access to modern restroom facilities on both sides of the trail
  • Access to hiking trail systems at Grand River Park and Grand Ravines (nearly 9 miles of trails)
Bill Idema Moraine Segment, Ottawa County
Bill Idema Moraine Segment, Ottawa County

Ottawa County shares the below popular access points for the completed phases of the Idema Explorers Trail:

  • Connor Bayou: 12945 North Cedar Drive, Grand Haven
  • Bend Area Trailhead: 9500 12th Avenue, Jenison
  • Grand Ravines Park, 9920 42nd Avenue, Jenison

Another part of the Grand River Greenway Initiative is the massive renovation at Ottawa Sands Park, that would transform an area along the Grand River close to Lake Michigan into a unique camping experience with treehouses and yurts.

Follow Ottawa County on social media for updates on the Idema Explorers Trail and other Grand River Greenway projects.

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