Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Having a Safe Visit

safety Ottawa County Parks are generally safe. Some common-sense precautions will help make your visit a pleasant one.

Uninvited Guests

Ticks, mosquitos and other insects may be encountered. Ticks found along the lakeshore parks can transmit Lyme disease, a very serious illness. Staying on trails and using bug spray can help. The most important step to take is completing a tick check after being outdoors. More information on preventing illnesses such as Lyme disease is available from the health department.

Swim Safe

Ottawa County provides no lifeguards at parks with swimming areas. Swim at your own risk in designated areas only.  Life jackets are recommended, especially for children and those who are not strong swimmers. Be cautious of drop offs and rip currents which may not be visible. Diving into lakes or streams is extremely dangerous as depths of natural waterways are impossible to judge and can change from day to day. Avoid swallowing lake water while swimming and take measures to reduce the risk of illness.

Buddy System

Visit the parks with a friend. If you are visiting alone, let a friend know where you are going and when you will return.

Stay Connected

A park is a great place to unwind and unplug, but having a cell phone for emergencies is a good idea. Very few parks have pay phones.

Weather Alert

Wear proper clothing and gear for the forecast. Be prepared for conditions to change.

Safety Gear

Use the recommended safety gear. This means bike helmets, life vests, sunscreen, appropriate footwear and so on.

H20 to Go

Bring drinking water for you and your pets. Heat and wind can be tiring and cause dehydration. Do not drink the water directly from lakes and rivers. It may look clean, but could contain illness causing organisms.

Avoid the Itch

While we try to keep trails clear, be aware of poison ivy and other irritating plants.

Animal Instinct

Treat any encounter with an animal, snake or other creature with caution and respect.


Lock valuables in the trunk of your car or take them with you. Better yet, leave them home and enjoy the priceless serenity of the park.

Slow Down

Whether on foot, bike or horse, maintain a safe, controlled speed. Hikers should yield to bicyclists and equestrians.

On the Hunt

Be aware that some properties allow hunting. Be alert and use safety precautions. If you are hunting on park properties, practice safe hunting procedures.

Common Sense

It is your responsibility to exercise caution and common sense while using the parks. We want you to enjoy a visit that is both safe and fun!