Kent County Parks is currently working on a long-term project to nearly triple the size of Chief Hazy Cloud Park. The expansion, which has been part of the Kent County Parks Master Plan for more than two decades should be completed over the next 18 months.
Chief Hazy Cloud Park, in Ada Township, was established in 1927. Originally 1.5 acres, it grew to 24 acres by 1977. In the early 1990s Kent County Parks began considering expansion plans for the 24-acre property. In 1998, working with a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant, Ada Township and other donors, the county added 120 acres to the park, including a mile of Grand River frontage, wetlands and wooded areas. A series of state DNR Trust Fund grants along with funding from Kent County and Ada Township are expected to help the county expand the property to 390 acres and 3 miles of river frontage.
A 2017 expansion added 145 acres adjacent to the park. Kent County Parks Director Roger Sabine said preserving the section of riverfront property, once part of the holdings of local gravel mining and paving companies, was a priority for the county. “It’s been long-term strategy to keep on buying the land downstream from the original Hazy Cloud,” Sabine said.
The long-term vision is to connect Chief Hazy Cloud with Ada Township’s 240-acre Roselle Park located directly across the Grand River from the expansion acreage. The planned pedestrian bridge will link trail systems in both parks and offer combined access to more than 600 acres of parkland.
Ada Township has supported the project through planning (see Ada Township’s Parks, Recreation and Land Preservation Plan) and stewardship. A shared goal of the partnership is to continue conservation efforts to preserve the Grand River and nearby upland and wetland habitats. The Land Conservancy of West Michigan also has a conservation easement on more than 100 acres contiguous to Ada Township’s property along the Grand River. When combined with Chief Hazy Cloud Park and Roselle Park, this area of land will become one of the largest significant protected areas along the Grand River.