Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lake Erie Bluffs Park selected to receive National Conservation Award



“This award demonstrates how Lake Erie Bluffs, our newest park, continues to gain recognition as an outstanding example of the conservation of a nationally recognized area, rich in habitat and various wildlife and plant species.” 
Lake Metroparks Executive Director Paul Palagyi 


Lake Metroparks’ newest park, Lake Erie Bluffs in Perry Township, has been selected as a recipient of the 2014 National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO) Award in the Environmental/Conservation category. NACPRO is a national advocate for parks, recreational facilities, and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for communities across the country.

“This award demonstrates how Lake Erie Bluffs, our newest park, continues to gain recognition as an outstanding example of the conservation of a nationally recognized area, rich in habitat and various wildlife and plant species,” Lake Metroparks Executive Director Paul Palagyi said. “Lake Erie Bluffs provides public access to our greatest natural resource, Lake Erie and protects habitat used by more than 15 rare and common plant and animal species, including the Bald eagle but most importantly this park will provide public access to almost two miles of Lake Erie shoreline.”

By Joel Trick of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsOne of the most important aspects of the property is the role it plays in supporting migratory birds as the fly north and south during the spring and fall. The birds depend on places like the meadows and other habit at the Bluffs to rest and feed before continuing their migrations. This offers bird watchers an opportunity to see a wide range of birds that are not otherwise normally found in this area. Earlier this week, a senior biologist with the parks, John Pogacnik, saw a Kirtland’s warbler which is widely considered the rarest warbler in North America. “One of the amazing things about the Bluffs is not just the habitat, but the variety of the habitat on the property. This habitat is just perfect for birds like the Kirtland’s warbler, they absolutely need this kind of cover and food to survive and continue their migrations, especially at this time of year,” said Pogacnik.

“Before we have even finished with building the trails and amenities that we plan to provide at the Bluffs, the park is already being recognized as nationally important by organizations like NACPRO,” said Palagyi. 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.

Photo of Kirtland's Warbler by Joel Trick of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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