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GVSU portion of Grand River Greenway opens

  • President Philomena V. Mantella talks with Bea Idema at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Grand Valley's segment of the Grand River Greenway.
  • Peter F. Secchia, left, and Judge Peter P. Versluis, 59th District Court
  • Bea Idema holds the face of her niece, Munyee Aldrink, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Versluis GVSU Campus Segment of the Idema Explorers Trail.
  • Members of the GVSU men's cross country team run along the Versluis GVSU Campus Segment of the Idema Explorers Trail.

Posted on October 23, 2019

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held October 23 on the Allendale Campus to celebrate the opening of Grand Valley's segment of the Grand River Greenway.

The Grand River Greenway includes 9,000 acres of protected public land along the Grand River. The land will eventually be connected by the Idema Explorers Trail, spanning more than 36 miles from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven, linking communities and parks in between.

The GVSU campus segment of the Idema Explorers Trail, named for the Versluis family, is located near 42nd Avenue and Pierce Street. The 1-mile-long segment provides a crucial connection between Grand Ravines County Park and the Allendale Campus.

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, campaign co-chair of the Grand River Greenway, said this segment of the trail, funded by the Ottawa County Parks Foundation, Georgetown Township and the Versluis family, is an example of the importance of preserving nature and green spaces.

Jason Shamblin, director of Ottawa County Parks & Recreation, said the idea for the Grand River Greenway started in 1987 with the goal of protecting thousands of acres of natural lands, developing new recreational opportunities and connecting communities.

For more information and a map of the Grand River Greenway, visit miottawa.org/parks/grand-river-greenway.htm