Friday, September 13, 2013

Lake Erie Bluffs: A successful modern conservation project

Many Northeast Ohioans recognize the value of Lake Erie.
Now they have a park that features this natural wonder
in Lake County’s front yard.

Lake Erie Bluffs is nationally significant: The 600-acre Lake Erie Bluffs property will permanently protect a significant amount of wetland, meadow and mostly undeveloped lakefront habitat used by rare and common plant and animal species.
Amazingly, the property remains largely unspoiled by previous development. The mix of 40-foot high beach bluffs and open sandy and cobble beach across 9,000 feet of shoreline are the site’s dominant features. The beach area hosts trees, shrubs and small plants including the majority of the park’s rare plants.

The development of Lake Erie Bluffs was made possible with help from a wide range of committed partners. Working together, this collaborative effort secured more than $10 million in local, state and federal competitive grants and donations to purchase the $11 million property. More than 1.6 miles of undeveloped shoreline and nearly 600 acres of diverse and important natural habitat are now protected by Lake Metroparks thanks to the help of many valuable partners.
Enjoy breathtaking views at two natural overlooks at Lake Erie Bluffs Lane Road entrance

Over the past several years, Lake Metroparks worked with various local conservation partners to complete a detailed study of the Lake Erie Bluffs site and together they produced a conceptual master plan that illustrated how conservation, recreation and economic development can all be sustained within and around the project area. The shared vision and commitment to promote and integrate the value of conservation efforts within existing local and regional planning groups and agencies was a result of funding from the Cleveland Foundation’s Lake-Geauga Fund.

Visitors will now enjoy low-impact recreational activities such as hiking and fishing at both locations accessible to the public. Improvements made to enhance public use include parking lots, restrooms and installation of gravel trails with a scenic overlooks and a grand access point to a natural beach along Lake Erie at each location.

Natural Beach at Lake Erie Bluffs - Clark Road entrance

Lake Erie Bluffs provides public access to Lake Erie and protects habitat used by rare species including:
  • Bald eagle • Merlin • White-eyed vireo • Least flycatcher
  • Willow flycatcher • Yellow-breasted chat
  • Purple sand grass • Fringed gentian • Seaside spurge
  • Smallmouth salamander • Hairy-necked tiger beetle
  • Various other rare plants

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