From the east or west on Green Street turn south onto 132nd Avenue. The park access is about 2/3 of a mile south on the right side of 132nd Avenue.
From Lake Michigan Drive (M-45), travel north on M-231, turn left (west) onto Lincoln St. Turn right (north) onto 136th Avenue. The entrance is at the corner of 136th Avenue and Johnson Street.
Amenities & Activities
- Hunting per special permit
- Helstrom Family Trail System
- Hiking trails and boardwalks
- Picnic tables
Located at the headwaters of the Grand River's Stearns Bayou, Stearns Creek Park is a key piece of Ottawa County's Grand River Greenway, a system of protected natural lands along the river and its tributaries. With over a mile of creek frontage, diverse wetlands, picturesque ravines, and tracts of older growth forests, Stearns Creek Park is an ecological treasure for both recreation and wildlife. Although much of its 146 acres was worked for decades, the wetlands and shoreline are among the highest quality in the Ottawa County park system. Even the original old pine plantations on the south side of the creek harbored uncommon prairie plants when the land was purchased. These pine plantations have been thinned or removed to begin to restore a diverse habitat of scattered trees and abundant native grasses and wildflowers known as Oak savanna.
Opened in 2019, the original 118-acre acquisition south of the creek features the 2.1-mile Helstrom Family Trail System, as well as benches and picnic tables donated by members of the Vollmer Family who once lived on this site. Funding for the $989,850 purchase came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP), $491,925; a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant for $429,318; and a $60,300 gift made possible by the generous support of John J. Helstrom, in memory of parents Mathias and Esther Helstrom. The Trail System was named in honor of the gift.
In late 2021 an additional 28-acre parcel north of Stearns Creek was purchased for $242,000 utilizing funds including an additional $95,000 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and an additional gift from John J. Helstrom in memory of parents, Mathias and Esther Helstrom.
In honor of this gift, the new area has been designated as the Helstrom Family Natural Area, and 0.8 miles added to the Helstrom Family Trail System. The Helstrom Family, who lived in West Michigan, had a great appreciation of nature and the need to protect it for future generations.
The original $989,850 park acquisition was funded with assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP), covering $491,925; a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant for $429,318; and a $60,300 gift made possible by the generous support of John J. Helstrom, in memory of parents Mathias and Esther Helstrom. In honor of the gift, the new park will feature the Helstrom Family Trail System.
A special thank you to the Ottawa County Parks Foundation for their funding of the park kiosk and trail signage.
- March 1 through October 15: 7:00am - 10:00pm
- October 16 through February 28: 7:00am - 8:00pm
There are no entry or launch fees.
- Dogs are required to be leashed (10’ max) and under control at all times.
- Dogs are not permitted in park buildings, restrooms, picnic shelters, off-trail, or as posted.
- Owners must clean up after their pet and dispose of waste in a trash receptacle.
- Leader dogs for persons with disabilities are permitted in all areas at any time.
- Recognizing that most dogs enjoy running and playing freely, many Ottawa County Open Space Lands allow dogs year-round off leash.