Ottawa 4-H donates property to help complete Idema Explorers Trail 

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In Ottawa County, the Michigan 4-H community is giving more than just their head, heart, hands and health – they’re also giving the gift of land. Earlier this year, the Ottawa County 4-H Council gifted a parcel of land to the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission that will help complete the Idema Explorers Trail. This 10-foot wide, paved trail allows hikers and cyclists access to over 9,000 acres of public land along the Grand River Greenway in Ottawa County and will allow Michiganders to get an up-close experience in nature between Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. 

The Grand River Greenway is a model ecological and cultural corridor along the Grand River. It preserves significant natural, historical and cultural features as well as promotes healthier, happier and more vibrant communities.  

“The Grand River Greenway is the culmination of 40 years of effort and was built on the vision and work of so many. This contribution will have a lasting impact on the community for generations,” said Jason Shamblin, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission Director. “This generous gift will allow us to complete the trail, so the property is fully open to those who wish to explore this area.”  

Tyler Lidgard, former MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator in Ottawa County (now located in Kent County), said that the 31 acres, valued at more than $265,000, has been in the hands of 4-H since 1959 when the Eugene and Ida Ten Brink family deeded the property to the 4-H Youth Development program in the area. 

“4-H’ers used the land for rustic camping for many years, but it is now landlocked and difficult to access except by the trail,” Lidgard explained. “The 4-H Council wanted to honor the Ten Brinks’ request that the land only be used for recreational purposes. Donating it to help complete a section of the trail seemed like a great compromise. Once completed, 4-H families and others can access the land and explore the area as the Ten Brinks envisioned.” 

In-kind gifts such as donations of land, property or other physical assets (residences, equipment and agricultural products) are just one of the many ways that donors can support 4-H. Contact Abbey Miller at to learn more about how you can support Michigan 4-H with an in-kind gift of this nature.