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Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Riley Trails

16300 Riley Street
Holland, MI 49424

A Note to Our
Riley Trails Park Guests:

We have heard you over the years. The Riley Trails Park trail system was confusing and agreed that improvements were necessary. Following the logging operations, we made progress. You will notice that new signs and maps have been installed at 29 trail intersections. Some trails were even removed. These included duplicate trails, confusing intersections and routes which contributed to erosion. A four mile mountain bike loop has also been added and marked, thanks to the help of local enthusiasts. A map can be found at the east end of the main parking lot. Head out to Riley Trails and check it all out. Let us know what you think. Comment on Facebook, email us or call us at 616-738-4810.

Riley Trails is 300 acres of rolling terrain, beech-maple forest, pine plantations and an informal trail system located in Park Township. The property has long been enjoyed by hikers, cross country skiers, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Although county-owned, Park Township has provided assistance over the years in maintaining the site for public use. In 2006, the County Board of Commissioners transitioned the property to Ottawa County Parks.

Riley Trails includes 40 acres that was formerly the Southwest Ottawa County Landfill. The landfill closed in 1979 after ground water in the area showed evidence of contamination. Ottawa County installed a system of purge wells and a water treatment facility in 1987 and has been treating groundwater since that time. Working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Ottawa County developed a plan to recap the landfill with clay to further limit water leaching through the landfill and to update the system of purge wells to better treat groundwater contamination.

Despite challenges created by the landfill, the Parks & Recreation Commission has long recognized the value of this site. Although the groundwater clean-up efforts will continue into the foreseeable future, county administrative staff overseeing the landfill recapping project incorporated input from county park planners to protect, create, and enhance park amenities. Construction zones were carefully chosen to avoid impact on the beech-maple forest and other native vegetation. Excavation of a large quantity of sand from the site was required for the recapping which provided an opportunity to create a large pond and wetland feature to enhance wildlife habitat. Sledding hills with run-out areas were shaped during the landfill recapping process and oriented for optimal snow retention. Seed mixes selected for the landfill cap include native grasses and wildflowers. The Parks Commission also constructed a footbridge to reestablish a key trail connection affected by the pond construction.

Historically, the landfill cap itself has been closed to public use to protect the cap from damage and because of potentially harmful methane gas which was emitted through vent pipes. Because of the age of the landfill, gas levels are significantly reduced, but the landfill area will remained closed to the public until gas emissions are studied further and determined to be at safe levels. Following this determination, the top of the landfill will be opened to the public with trails, overlooks and sledding hills.

A Riley Trails Master Plan was approved in 2007 following two public meetings and extensive input from interested trail users. Plans call for continued hiking, biking and cross country skiing on park trails which will be upgraded to improve trail safety. A first phase improvement project was completed in 2007 involving parking lot upgrades, trail improvements and the addition of picnic sites and a rustic toilet.

Restoration Plan

Park Map - This printable map shows facilities, parking areas, features and trails (if any).

Facilities

  • Bridge over small lake
  • Parking lot
  • Rustic toilets
  • Picnic tables
  • Trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking

Fees

There are no entry fees.

Dog Policy

Dogs are permitted at Riley Trails. For the safety and enjoyment of all park guests, pets must be on ten foot leashes and under control. Owners must clean up after their pet and dispose of waste in a trash receptacle. Recognizing that most dogs enjoy running and playing freely, many Ottawa County Open Space Lands allow dogs year-round off leash.

Directions

Riley Trails is located in Park Township. The entrance is located on Riley Street between 160th and 168th Avenues.

Parks Administration Office

Room 267
12220 Fillmore St.
West Olive, MI 49460
Monday - Friday:
8:00am - 5:00pm
Phone: (616) 738-4810
Fax: (616) 738-4812
In Ottawa County:
(888) 731-1001 ext.4810

General Park Hours*

March 1 - October 15
7:00am - 10:00pm
October 16 - February 28
7:00am - 8:00pm
*Some parks close in winter or have hours that vary. Select each park for specific park hours.