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Maintaining access | Park improvements | Ongoing efforts

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.

$100K Grant from the Cleveland Foundation’s Lake-Geauga Fund
Elevates Plan for Lake Metroparks Tower

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.

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
  • Smallmouth salamander • Fringed gentian • Seaside spurge
  • Hairy-necked tiger beetle • Various other rare plants

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.

Images from the dedication ceremony held September 16, 2013

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.

The funding for Lake Metroparks’ purchase came from the following sources: Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Conservation Fund, the Novak Trust, Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Lake Metroparks Improvement Fund. The project would not have been possible without the dedicated support and hard work of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and The Trust for Public Lands.

New entrance to Lake Erie Bluffs
3301 Lane Road
Perry Township, OH 44081

Directions

From the East: Take Route 20 to Lane Road in Perry Township. Turn right (north), and follow Lane Road to the park. Entrance to the park will be on the right (west).

From the West: Take Route 2 East to where it ends and becomes Route 20. Follow Route 20 to Lane Road in Perry Township. Turn left (north), and follow Lane Road to the park. Entrance to the park will be on the right (west).

Dedication Ceremony - September 16, 2013

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. Lake Metroparks celebrated these conservation efforts, recognizing partners who helped to make this vision a reality.

The new entrance to Lake Erie Bluffs off Lane Road provides public access to Lake Erie for generations to come and protects habitat used by many rare species of animals and plant life.

 

$100K Grant from the Cleveland Foundation’s Lake-Geauga Fund
Elevates Plan for Lake Metroparks Tower

Lake Metroparks has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation for the construction of an impressive observation tower at the agency’s newest park – Lake Erie Bluffs in Perry Township. The new park provides visitors with access to almost two miles of undeveloped Lake Erie shoreline through two access points off of Lane Road and Clark Road.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Cleveland Foundation, the addition of this 50-foot coastal observation tower will serve as a cornerstone of this amazing 600-acre Lake Erie Bluffs Park,” said Paul Palagyi, executive director of Lake Metroparks. “This tower will give visitors an impressive panoramic view of Lake Erie, the shoreline and the landscape of central Lake County.”

The 50-foot high observation tower will be situated overlooking the lakeshore with multiple viewing platforms along a staircase that will culminate in a deck featuring 360-degree views. The height and location of the tower will provide visitors with a unique view of the lake and the surrounding woods, fields and wetlands along with the associated wide-range of wildlife – particularly the large number of bald eagles that are regularly seen at the park. The south shore of Lake Erie is known worldwide as an important corridor for bird migration. As songbirds migrate north in spring and south in fall, large concentrations of birds can be witnessed migrating around the smallest of the Great Lakes, sticking close to the shoreline.

“The view of the lake and this amazing park is about to be raised to new heights,” said Frank Polivka, President of the Lake Metroparks’ Board of Park Commissioners. “Thanks in large part to the grant from the Cleveland Foundation, visitors to the park will have an amazing view our greatest natural resource – Lake Erie.”

“The Lake-Geauga Fund of the Cleveland Foundation values its long-standing partnership with Lake Metroparks,” said Robert E. Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation. “This is the second centennial grant made by the Lake-Geauga Fund in recognition of our upcoming 100-year milestone in 2014. We are pleased to support all efforts that celebrate and preserve the unmatched natural resources and beauty of this region for future generations.”

Construction of the tower is scheduled to begin next spring. Total cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $200,000-$250,000.


Park improvements

Chapin Forest Reservation
In an ongoing effort to provide quality and safe access to our visitors, the road and the parking lots at Chapin Forest Reservation at the Route 306 entrance were replaced and paved in two stages; September and November 2013.

Chagrin River Park
In an ongoing effort to provide quality and safe access to our visitors, the driveway into and the parking lot at Chagrin River Park Reeves Road entrance was replaced and paved in May 2013.


Maintaining access

Spend the night at Lake Metroparks in a tent

In an effort to provide more opportunities to enjoy our parks, Lake Metroparks expanded its camping opportunities to include tent camping so campers may experience unique natural features and the great outdoors. Staff created sites to highlight different natural resources, thus providing a variety of camping experiences.

Lake Metroparks’ inaugural tent camping season was very popular and successful. “In our effort to create new opportunities for our visitors to enjoy the parks, we created five reservable campsites,” said Paul Palagyi, executive director of Lake Metroparks. “The response was very positive; campers pitched their tents and stay over 200 nights at one of these picturesque campsites.”

These opportunities offer a “rustic” experience for small groups of up to eight people staying in tents. Campers must hike or paddle to the campsites. The sites are set back from the developed areas of the parks from about .25-mile to more than a mile. Each location is different, and there is only one campsite per park to provide a quiet, intimate natural experience—much different than crowded campgrounds. There is a lakeside site on Hidden Lake, a site high on the bluffs over the Grand River, a creekside site along Big Creek and two different riverside sites along the Grand River.

Reservations are required.

Click here for more information about tent camping at Lake Metroparks.

Big Creek at Liberty Hollow

Big Creek at Liberty Hollow is a 62-acre property featuring access to a nearly one mile section of Big Creek, great for for fishing and spectacular scenic views. To make the park more accessible to visitors, Lake Metroparks developed a .25-mile natural hiking trail, installed stairways in a few hard-to-reach areas and cleared space for a five car parking lot. 
Please note that parking is limited and there is no street parking.

Park hours: 6 am to 1/2-hour past sunset

Click here for more information about Big Creek at Liberty Hollow


Ongoing efforts

Deer exclosure at Veterans Park

If you have driven past Veterans Park on Hopkins Road recently, you probably have noticed a large fenced area in the woods adjacent to the parking lot. This 10 x 20-meter structure is a deer exclosure, one of seven that are monitored by Lake Metroparks throughout the county. This area was selected after so many of the mature trees were taken down by the devastating winds of Hurricane Sandy.

If you are looking for a white-tailed deer inside the exclosure, you won’t see one. The space is designed to keep deer out to monitor the plants inside versus the plants on the outside. this will provide an index of what the impact of browse is by the white-tailed deer on that plant community.

The deer exclosure will have an important interpretive value to the public as, literally, they will see the structure from the parking lot and learn from it what impact it has on protecting the plant life within.

A small deer herd only makes a small impact, but too many deer consume the seeds of a forest’s future growth. Over time, these impacts create a visible browse line in the forest (see above).

White TrilliumTom Adair, Parks Services Director, in an interview on the "Around Town" program on Mentor TV, said with the elimination of plant life, we will see a related loss or decrease in the diversity of insect life, bird life and mammal life as it relates to Veterans Park.

"Lake Metroparks has monitored the growth of white trillium in this area over the past 10 to 15 years and we have records that showed us that there were over 1,000 white trillium on a small plot, a 10' x 10' area," said Adair. "That site within the past two to three years has yielded no more than a dozen white trillium."

Plants inside the fenced area at Veterans Park are now protected from deer. Over time, this will show us how a healthy forest in Northeast Ohio can recover.

Click here to watch the video. The deer exclosure is the first segment of the program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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