Celebrating Connections Along the Grand River Greenway

Partners come together to celebrate the completion of the Versluis GVSU Campus Segment of the Idema Explorers Trail


Left-right: County Commissioner Matt Fenske, Judge Peter Versluis, Bea Idema, President Philomena V. Mantella, Ambassador Peter Secchia, and County Commissioner Greg DeJong

The Idema Explorers Trail is a component of the Grand River Greenway, a $41 million dollar project spearheaded by Ottawa County Parks. The Grand River Greenway is comprised of 9,000 acres of public land between Grand Haven and Grand Rapids, with over 2,700 acres protected by Ottawa County Parks. The preservation of this land provides scenic natural spaces, high quality habitat for both wildlife and recreation, and soon, the 36.5-mile Idema Explorers Trail, connecting these two great cities.

Partners gathered on October 23, 2019 on Grand Valley State University’s campus to celebrate the completion of the Versluis GVSU Campus Segment of the Idema Explorers Trail. This one-mile segment trail connects Grand Ravines to GVSU’s Allendale campus, and the Allendale business district. The Idema Explorers Trail will be a 36.5-mile multi-use pathway that connects Grand Rapids to Grand Haven along the Grand River.

Grand Valley State University President Philomena V. Mantella said the Grand River Greenway project improves the quality of life for students, as well as their experience and their access to the river. “Part of what attracted me and many of our students to our great university is the beauty of our campuses, and the settings along the Grand River are a part of that incredible beauty,” Mantella said. “This trail system will eventually connect our campuses and be used by thousands of our students and student athletes for training, education and recreation.”

Peter F. Secchia, co-chair of the Grand River Greenway Campaign Committee thanked the funders of this segment of trail, including the Ottawa County Parks Foundation, Georgetown Township, and the Versluis family and said it is an example of the importance of preserving nature and green spaces. Secchia and the Grand River Greenway Campaign Committee are working to raise the final $1.1 million needed for the project.