Year round walking, running and biking is easy to do in west Michigan.
The extensive list of trails that appears on the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition verifies an impressive number of trails and includes more than 1100 original photos, directions to trail locations and detailed descriptions of the terrain and area covered. I encourage you to spend some time exploring their web site. As a hiker and biker, I found it very inspiring!
A small portion (1800 feet) of the trail system in West Michigan runs along the south shoreline of Lake Macatawa and is called the Heinz Waterfront Walkway.
Donated by the Heinz Company, the walkway reciprocated land given to Heinz by Holland in 1896 for the building of a pickle factory.
The entrance to the Heinz Waterfront Walkway is on the west end of Kollen Park.
The trail winds along the waterfront near a large Heinz building.
Despite low temperatures the day we visited, there were many people out enjoying the area; strolling, walking their dogs and even, as you can see in the photo above, kayaking on Lake Macatawa!
We parked near the entrance and walked along the lakefront. Plaques describing the boardwalk and its history are posted on remnants of a large pickle barrel.
One said, “In 1896, representatives of the H.J. Heinz Company toured several cities in western Michigan looking for an ideal location for a new pickle processing factory. In December of 1896, Heinz committed to building a pickle factory in Holland if local farmers would pledge 300 acres of cucumbers for Heinz and if the City of Holland would donate a building site with water shipping access and a rail siding.
Local citizens and farmers pledged more than 500 acres of cucumbers, and the City of Holland purchased two acres of land for $800 on the present day site.
This site provided a rail siding and water access for shipping.
Groundbreaking for the new pickle factory occurred on April 19, 1897 and the original building was dedicated on June 1, 1897. The 16,000 square foot building cost $2100. Today the Heinz facility includes 17 buildings covering 29 acres.”
The boardwalk ends at 16th Street and we followed the sidewalk along the street back to Kollen Park Drive and into Kollen Park.
Here we viewed the Immigrant Statue, a gift from the people of Drenthe in the Netherlands.
According to Wikipedia, “Drenthe has been populated for 150,000 years. The region has subsequently been part of the Episcopal principality of Utrecht, Habsburg Netherlands, Dutch Republic, Batavian Republic, Kingdom of Holland and Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Drenthe is an official province since 1796. The capital and seat of the provincial government is Assen.
The King’s Commissioner of Drenthe is Jetta Klijnsma. The Labour Party (PvdA) is the largest party in the States-Provincial, followed by the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).”
Kollen Park has a large group picnic shelter, a band shelter, a gazebo, playground, boat launch ramps, limited docking facilities, parking, and several hundred feet of Lake Macatawa frontage with boardwalks and fishing decks.
American Legion concerts are held at Kollen Park every Tuesday from June 11 to August 13. The Summer Concert Series takes place on Fridays from June 14 to August 23.