PORT SHELDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Two lakeshore parks in Port Sheldon Township will now be taken care of by the county, which means some of the rules are changing.
Ottawa County Parks and Recreation department has been contracted to handle the custodial and rule enforcement of two lakeshore areas: Kouw Park and Windsnest Park. Though Port Sheldon Township still owns and oversees both parks, management roles will be left up to Ottawa County, which “has a proven track record and expertise in parks management,” the township said in a release.
Port Sheldon Township said the change comes after struggling with overcrowding, people breaking the rules and trespassing, among other issues.
“Those are the kind of troubles we run into, especially at any lakeshore park, but they don’t have the staff that Ottawa County has,” Jason Boerger, coordinator of park maintenance and operations for Ottawa County, said. “They just had a couple of people managing these parks. We have seasonal employees, full-time and part-time employees who are experienced with enforcing rules, writing citations and keeping the good order at the park.”
“We believe it’s a good setup for both of us,” Township Supervisor Mike Sabatino said. “Hopefully it addresses a lot of the residents’ concerns with overcrowding and some of the things we’ve dealt with in the past.”
Under the maintenance of Ottawa County, the parks’ rules will change a bit. Though there will still be no alcohol or fires allowed in the parks, people can now bring their dogs to both Kouw Park and Windsnest park from Sept. 30 to May 1. Before, dogs were prohibited at both.
“In the off season, dogs are allowed on leash at these parks,” Boerger said. “Still during the summer Memorial Day to Labor Day, you will not be able to have dogs at these parks.”
Park visitors will also have the option to rent a pavilion for events at the Ottawa County website.
A vehicle permit will be required from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The permit will let you into all the other Ottawa County lakeshore parks — Tunnel Park, Kirk Park, Rosy Mound Natural Area, Olive Shores and North Beach Park — for the season. You can buy a $15 permit starting in April at a park pay station or the Ottawa County website. Port Sheldon residents will get a $5 discount on the passes if they’re bought online. Bridge card holders can get a free motor vehicle permit.
For more information, visit the Port Sheldon Township website. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.