- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Construction is complete on a new wetlands boardwalk at Millennium Park in western Michigan that makes it easier to explore more remote and natural areas of the park.

The boardwalk connects the Hansen Nature Trail to a popular trail loop surrounding the main lake at the 1,500-acre park. Funding for the project was donated in memory of Sandy Hansen, a park supporter who died in 2014, and the trail around the lake is known as Sandy Hansen Shoreline Trail.

The boardwalk “safeguards protected wetlands while recognizing the uniqueness of this special area,” Roger Sabine, director of Kent County Parks, said in a statement. The hope, he said, is that it will “encourage visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy the scenic wetlands.”

A dedication event is planned for Wednesday. The trails include a one-mile nature walk that offers the chance to explore wetlands and nearly two miles of paved, multi-purpose trail. With the link provided by the wetlands boardwalk, trail users can easily leave the Shoreline Trail to explore.

Hansen volunteered for West Michigan Environmental Action Council, was active in the Audubon Society, and was a longtime supporter of parks. Her husband, Dick, along with their children and grandchildren, sought to memorialize her love of nature and parks.

Sandy and Dick Hansen previously funded construction of the Hansen Nature Trail, which is open to foot traffic. It’s part of the park’s extensive network of paved and natural-surfaced trails. The trail system is open to non-motorized and non-equestrian use.




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