Parks Rules & Regulations
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. Please note that we are awaiting the implementation of a new software system, and permits will not be required or issued until the software is up and running. An exact date has not yet been established.
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.Photography FAQ »
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.
Hammocks may be hung in parks using wide straps on trees over 6 inches in diameter, within 10 feet of an established natural surface, gravel, or asphalt trail only. Hammocks may not be hung in a manner that can cause damage to a tree. Hammocks are not allowed in off-trail areas, on manmade park structures, or in areas where the trail is either boardwalk or stairs. Hammockers should follow “leave no trace” principals and pack out everything that is packed in including trash and recyclables.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
GeocachingGuidelines & Rules for Geocaching
The use of a metal detector is allowed 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 not allowed in any beach area that has vegetation. Metal detecting is also allowed at Ottawa Sands on the un-vegetated sandy area along the Grand River excluding the steep cut bank, along the gravel road and within 10 feet of the sandy trails or un-vegetated banks of the inland lake. Metal detecting is allowed at these parks only during regular park hours. 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.
Trespassing onto adjacent private property is prohibited (6.1q). If a hunter, beach goer, or other park user has trespassed onto your private property, call the Sheriff’s Department or the appropriate law enforcement agency with jurisdiction to report the trespasser. Please also report it to us so we know if a particular area is becoming problematic.
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.