Hansen Nature Trail opens in Grand Rapids' Millennium Park

Deborah Johnson Wood

A new nature trail that winds around several ponds in the most undisturbed natural area of Kent County's Millennium Park opened last week.

The Hansen Nature Trail, named after donors Dick and Sandy Hansen who funded the $100,000 project, is just over a half-mile long, but it connects to more than 20 miles of the Fred Meijer Millennium Trail Network within the park as well as the Kent Trails system and a Grand Rapids City Trail along Wealthy St. SE.

The trail is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, made of compacted crushed stone that will accommodate wheelchairs and mountain bikes. The pathway loops through the property of a former fish hatchery near the intersection of Butterworth and Riverbend streets. Users can fish from a wheelchair-accessible fishing deck that extends over one of the ponds.

"The Hansen Nature Trail adds another element to the park," says Roger Sabine, director of Kent County Parks. "It's the most natural area we have that's open with trails, a little closer to nature than the rest of the trails. There are more sights and sounds than there might be on other trails because it's a little less busy."

Millennium Park is open to the public at no cost, and features age-appropriate playgrounds, picnic areas and a boardwalk along the water's edge. Access to the swimming area ranges from $2 to $4 per person per visit, or via a $50 family pass.

Source: Roger Sabine, Kent County Parks Department; Kate Washburn, Wondergem Consulting

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected] Development News tips can be sent to [email protected]