Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Parks Rules & Regulations

Park Rules


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 Grand Ravines North Lodge, 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 2018 to allow photographers to apply for a commercial photography/videography permit and created a Commercial Photography Policy. If you are a commercial photographer or videographer who uses Ottawa County Parks as a location, please review the policy and complete the permit application.

Photography FAQ »


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.


Guidelines & Rules for Geocaching

Metal Detecting

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.