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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.

More trails, three-season shelter and bridge planned for Lake Erie Bluffs.

Lake Metroparks Executive. Director Paul Palagyi talks about
scenic Lake Erie Bluffs Park in Perry Twp.

Lake Metroparks Executive Director Paul Palagyi shows where
bridge to link Clark & Lane roads sections of Lake Erie Bluffs.

Lake Metroparks Director Paul Palagyi shows where a pavilion
will be built at Lake Erie Bluffs park.

Lake Metroparks Director Paul Palagyi talks about the trail system
and birds at Lake Erie Bluffs in Perry Twp.

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 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.

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).

Park improvements

Lake Erie Bluffs (Lane Road entrance)

New overlook deck installed to enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Erie and provide access to people with mobility issues.


Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park

Harbor View Boardwalk on the beach at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park
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.

Chapin Forest Reservation
New shelter with double-sided fireplace installed at Hobart Road entrance.


Maintaining access

Spend the night at Lake Metroparks in a tent

New campsites at Lake Erie Bluffs and Penitentiary Glen Reservation
now available to reserve!

In an effort to provide more opportunities to enjoy our parks ,Lake Metroparks offers tent camping opportunities in seven parks 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.

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.