New Preserve Will Protect Lake Erie Shore (OH)

SANDUSKY, OH, 10/20/03 – The Trust for Public Land, the Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation, and Erie MetroParks announced today the near completion of a new 1200-acre East Sandusky Bay Preserve MetroPark along the Lake Erie shoreline. Located between Cleveland and Toledo, East Sandusky Bay is an extraordinary naturally functioning freshwater marsh near Cedar Point Amusement Park and an important stop over point along one of the largest bird migratory routes in the eastern U.S.

The Trust for Public Land will transfer two properties totaling 1,029 acres to become part of the larger nature preserve later this month. Erie MetroParks will manage the Preserve, part of which will be known as the Community Foundation Preserve at Eagle Point, in recognition of the foundation’s generous support and leadership. The Nature Conservancy also played a role by making available the 956-acre Putnam Marsh for inclusion into the preserve.

Final funding for the preserve is expected to come from Federal, State, and private sources including the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) secured $2.5 million in federal funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program to help protect the remaining properties.

“The East Sandusky Bay preserve is a jewel in our emerald necklace around the shore of Lake Erie,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “This initiative not only will enhance the quality of life, but also promote economic development through the burgeoning eco-tourism sector of our economy.”

“The Great Lakes truly are a national treasure. Last year, my family and I visited a tract of land that was in danger of being developed,” said Sen. DeWine. “The site retained its original splendor and we even witnessed a bald eagle take flight from its nearby nesting area. It is my hope that my children can experience this same natural wonder with their own grandchildren. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was able to secure funding to protect properties that are adjacent to other conserved land. We have created a contiguous block of open space for wildlife habitat and public enjoyment.”

The Trust for Public Land acted to prevent the property from being developed by working with local landowners and community leaders tosecure the properties and develop a long-term stewardship plan. The success is due in a large part to funding from the Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation and partnering private foundations.

“This has been a highly effective private and public collaboration for the conservation of a natural treasure in Erie County,” said John O. Bacon, Chairman of The Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation. “Our Community Foundation has been proud to join the private landowners, individual donors, private foundations and the Trust for Public Land in partnership with Erie MetroParks and our concerned county, state and federal governmental officials to preserve permanently the irreplaceable natural beauty of East Sandusky Bay”

“This is an important new preserve that will not only provide our county residents with a world class location for bird watching, but something to draw tourists from around the country,” added Kevin Zeiher, Erie MetroParks Commissioner.

The new East Sandusky Bay Preserve MetroPark is one of several key protected natural areas along the Lake Erie Shoreline including the Ottawa International Wildlife Refuge and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. It is the intersection of two primary bird migratory routes, the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways, home to a pair of nesting American bald eagles, and an important year-round bird habitat.

“Lake Erie and its shoreline are incredible natural assets,” adds Wolfe Tone, Ohio Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land. “The East Sandusky Bay Preserve MetroPark protects wildlife habitat and gives the public access to enjoy and appreciate the natural beauty of the bay.”

Under the management of Erie MetroParks, the area will be available for scheduled recreational, educational, and interpretive programming opportunities such as bird watching and observation of the American Bald Eagle; waterfowl, wildlife, and wildflower identification; and wetland, forest, and meadow ecology.

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 1.4 million acres across the nation. In 2001, The Trust for Public Land helped protect the nearby 1,300-acre Edison Woods Preserve, which is the largest single conservation project in northern Ohio in decades.

Note to editors: To have a digital photo e-mailed to you, contact Tom Evers at the Trust for Public Land, (651) 917-2240, ext. 322 or