Macatawa River Greenway

The Macatawa River Greenway is comprised of a network of permanently protected public and private lands that wind their way through the heart of the Holland/Zeeland area. Wide community support has made the greenway possible thanks to partnerships between the ODC Network, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Holland, the City of Zeeland, local townships, and other local organizations. Learn what sites make up the Macatawa River Greenway.

Natural Corridor

The Macatawa River Greenway project is an effort to protect the banks, floodplain forest, marsh, meadows, and wetlands along the Macatawa River, the community’s main river. By protecting this continuous corridor for wildlife and plant habitat, the Greenway also significantly improves the quality of the waters flowing into Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan.

This natural corridor within the heart of our community follows the path of the Macatawa River. Beginning at the River Avenue Bridge near downtown Holland and moving upriver toward the city of Hudsonville, the Greenway permanently protects, connects, and restores nearly 10 miles of river edge land and floodplain forest. Through public and private partnerships, more than 1,200 acres have been protected along this unique corridor.

Along the Greenway, visitors can find more than a mile of paved trail and nearly 4 miles of hiking trails providing people with recreational opportunities in the heart of the Holland/Zeeland community. The Greenway also provides a wildlife corridor for animals allowing them access to a variety of ecosystems and protected wildlife areas.

Throughout the Greenway, visitors will find wildlife viewing platforms and overlooks allowing viewing of the diverse habitats that can be found along the Macatawa River. Unique areas along the Greenway system include Windmill Island, the Macatawa Greenspace (former Holland Country Club), Paw Paw Park, Ridge Point Community Church Natural Area, Hawthorn Pond Natural Area, Poppen Woods, and the Upper Macatawa Natural Area.

The Macatawa Greenway effort was originally conceived during the 1994 Macatawa Future Search as a local community-wide “environmental protection” project.

Since 1994 and to the present, the mission of these greenway efforts is to “protect and enhance natural lands, streams, and open spaces within the Lake Macatawa watershed for public enjoyment and the preservation of plant and wildlife habitat”.

This vision shaped the Macatawa Greenway Network (see map below), a broad web of public and private forests, streams, and other open and undeveloped areas that would provide wildlife habitat corridors and opportunities for people to enjoy these “greenways”. The main project focus has been the Macatawa River Greenway.

These efforts evolved into the Macatawa Greenway Partnership, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1996. The Partnership brought together key local and county units of government as well as significant private parties to advance the program. These greenway efforts are now being led by the ODC Network which merged operations with the Macatawa Greenway in August 2009.