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Kirk Park beach to fully reopen to dogs this spring

Ottawa County seal
Ottawa County seal

A popular Ottawa County beach will fully reopen to dogs and their owners this spring

In May of 2020, high Lake Michigan water levels began eroding a portion of the Kirk Park beach dune. That damaged steps that were removed leading to the south dog beach. Access to the north beach is too narrow for both the public and dogs. A compromise allows dogs at the Kirk Park beach in the mornings and evenings during spring and summer months.

“It wasn’t necessarily the favorite decision of a lot of our dog lovers out there. They were frustrated with not being able to have their dogs on the beach in the middle of the day.”

But according to Jason Boerger with Ottawa County Parks and Recreation, starting May 1st, dogs will once again be allowed off leash on the south end of the beach during all normal park hours.

Boerger says the county tried to get those beach access steps restored as soon as possible, but it wasn’t easy.

“Honestly, with the erosion that had occurred, the banks were very unstable. They were still continuing to sluff sand off and it just wasn’t an environment we could actually build on.”

Boerger says those new stairs will be completed within the next few weeks.

He also says that a portion of Kirk Park’s dune ridge trail was eroded, but they hope to have that restored within the year.

“So that that trail can again have Lake Michigan views and great places to just sit and watch over the beach and the lake.”

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
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