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Maintaining access | Park improvements | Ongoing efforts
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.
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.
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
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.
Lane Road entrance to Lake Erie Bluffs
3301 Lane Road
Perry Township, OH 44081
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).
New overlook deck installed to enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Erie and provide access to people with mobility issues.
Harbor View Boardwalk
The beach-level wooden platform is accessible from the parking lot near the west end of the beach, the pavilion on the west side of the beach and the playground area. Wooden benches and picnic tables are placed along the deck for visitors to sit and enjoy the view of the harbor.
New shelter with double-sided fireplace installed at Hobart Road entrance.
New campsites coming soon:
- Penitentiary Glen Reservation
- Lake Erie Bluffs
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.
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.
Reservations are required.
Click here for more information about tent camping at Lake Metroparks.
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
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
Tom 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.