Small wooden statues becoming stars at Sanctuary Woods Park

Nine ‘natural gnomes’ have popped up this spring.
A participant looks at one of the carved wooden statues – this one climbing a ladder – during the Woodland Wildflower Walk on April 30 at Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St.

The blooming flowers were the stars of the recent Woodland Wildflower Walk at Sanctuary Woods Park — until the almost two dozen hikers saw a small wooden statue just off the main path.

The hunt was on, and joyful calls echoed through the Laketown Township park: There’s another! There’s one on skis! Another one over there, on a bench!

So far, nine statues, each about 18 inches tall, have popped up in the park at 4750 66th St. since spring. As of Tuesday, April 30, all were located along the lower loop of the park.

One statue holds a fishing rod along the creek. Another sits on the shore in contemplation. Another is throwing a spear. One is skiing while another rides a sled. Two hold hands, pointing to the top of the stairs while another statue rests on a bench. The latest is climbing a ladder.

A wooden statue at Sanctuary Woods Park on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.
A wooden statue at Sanctuary Woods Park on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

When you see the statues, please leave them alone so everyone can appreciate them.

The township doesn’t know who is creating these natural gnomes. If you know who the artist is, please contact Public Information Coordinator Jim Hayden at (616) 335-3050 or jimh@laketowntwp.org. We’d love to find out more about the statues and share their stories with the entire community.

One of the carved statues at Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St., on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
One of the carved statues at Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St., on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
One of the carved statues at Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St., on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
One of the carved statues at Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St., on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
One of the carved statues at Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St., on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
Carved statue at Sanctuary Woods on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

Sanctuary Woods is open dawn until dusk. The park is 40 acres with a lower loop and an upper loop. The trails are connected by 170 wooden steps. There is a view of Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan from the upper loop. A historic Interurban railway bridge is in the center of the park.

The Woodland Wildflower Walk on April 30 was the first of the free seasonal programs led by the Outdoor Discovery Center sponsored by the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission at township parks.

For a complete list of events, check out the Outdoor Discovery Center.

One of the carved statues at Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St., on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.