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Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Parks Rules & Regulations

Park Rules

Alcohol

No alcohol is allowed in any Ottawa County Park or property. Call the parks office to ask about alcohol permits for special events at the Pine Bend Park Weaver House and Connor Bayou Woodland Cabin.  Alcohol permits are not available for other locations.

Commercial Photography & Videography

Ottawa County Parks prohibits commercial activity in all parks and open spaces (Rule 6.1k). Acknowledging that many residents enjoy having family photos taken on park property, the Parks Commission voted in March 2018 to allow photographers to apply for a commercial photography/videography permit and created a Commercial Photography Policy.

Ottawa County Parks will begin accepting and awarding applications to commercial photographers and videographers in the Fall of 2018. Until permits become available, review the application and be sure to follow the outlined rules. If you would like to receive more information about the permit when it becomes available, click here to subscribe to our Parks-Commercial Photography email list. Please contact Jason Boerger with any questions prior: (616) 846-8160.

Drones

Use or operation of any remote-controlled airplane, helicopter, drone, car, boat, or similar device is not allowed unless prior written permission is obtained. It is the intention of the Park Commission to limit the negative impact that drones may have on other park visitors and to keep all park users as safe as possible, while still allowing drone use on a very limited and controlled basis. Requests must be received 14 days in advance and name the specific time, date, and location. Special permission will be issued for the following reasons to pilots who are in full compliance with current FAA regulations and, in most cases FAA licensure will also be required.

  • Permits will be issued to those renting an outdoor space that is separate from the public park spaces. These could include but are not limited to the Connor Bayou Cabin, The Weaver house lawn area, the group camp at Pigeon Creek, or the Trellis at Spring Grove.
  • Permits will be issued to pilots conducting work for the Parks Commission or for the benefit of the Parks Commission, park visitors, or the residents of Ottawa County.
  • No permits will be issued for general hobby use within the public areas of the Parks or Open Spaces.

Bicycles

Bicycles are allowed on designated bike trails at Pigeon Creek Park, Riley Trails and Grand River Park. Bicycles are not allowed off trails or on trails when covered by snow. Bikes are also welcome on the Musketawa Trail & Upper Macatawa Natural Area. See the Bicycle The Lakeshore brochure.

Horses

Pigeon Creek Park, Eastmanville Farm and the Musketawa Trail welcome horses. Horses are allowed on designated trails at Pigeon Creek Park from March 15 through November 30, if weather and trail conditions permit. Because of cross country skiing, horses are not allowed at Pigeon Creek Park during the winter. For trail conditions at Pigeon Creek, call the county parks office.

Dogs

Most of the Ottawa County Parks welcome dogs. There are seasonal restrictions and rules which vary from park to park. Please see Dog Rules and Tips for more details. Dogs are never allowed at Rosy Mound Natural Area, Olive Shores, Mt. Pisgah and the stairs at North Ottawa Dunes. (Leader dogs are allowed.)

Camping

Individual and family camping is not permitted in any Ottawa County Park. A year' round Group Camp Area at Pigeon Creek Park can be reserved in advance by groups from recognized organizations. Fees are on a per night basis. Call the parks office for more information.

Geocaching

Guidelines & Rules for Geocaching

Metal Detecting

The use of a metal detector is allowed ONLY on Lake Michigan beach areas at North Beach Park, the Rosy Mound Natural Area, Kirk Park, Tunnel Park and Historic Ottawa Beach Park. Metal detecting is allowed at these parks only during regular park hours. Metal detecting is not allowed in any beach area that has vegetation. Any holes created during the act of metal detecting must be filled in. Special permission from parks staff must be obtained in advance for metal detecting in other park areas.

Other Park Rules & Regulations

  • There is no smoking allowed on any Ottawa County Parks beaches.
  • Fires are permitted only in grills and designated fire pits. No beach fires.
  • Snowmobiles are allowed on the Musketawa Trail when conditions are satisfactory. ORV's are not to be ridden within any other Ottawa County Parks property.