New Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve

New Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve Creates Mile-Long Lake Erie Access
Nonprofit, local and state government partnership protects coastal land for new preserve

Port Clinton, OH – The public’s access to Ohio’s Lake Erie coast was recently enhanced with the acquisition of 25 parcels in Port Clinton. Combined, the Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve includes 12.04 acres of coastal wetlands and marsh, and a one-third mile sand beach shore.

The preserve is located north of East Perry Street (Ohio 163). The road is part of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail of the National Scenic Byways Program; the land, part of the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways for migratory birds, is an Audubon Ohio Designated Important Bird Area.

“By preserving this waterfowl and bird habitat site, we have the opportunity to increase eco-tourism and create nearly a mile-long continuous stretch of Lake Erie public access by connecting Water Works Park on the west to Lakefront Park City Beach on the east,” said Port Clinton Mayor Debbie Hymore-Tester.

Only 16 percent of Ohio’s 312-mile Lake Erie shore is publicly accessible. This acquisition increases Ohio’s publicly accessible coastal miles to 48.9 at 144 sites. Just as the preserve links land, the purchasing process brought together partners at the local, state and national level.

In 2006 the city of Port Clinton approached the Ohio Office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL) seeking assistance in acquiring the preserve properties. The city also applied for a grant from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management. In Federal fiscal year 2007, the preserve’s acquisition was ranked 12 out of 59 projects competing nationally for CELCP funding through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

After three years of negotiations by the TPL, the Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve properties were purchased for just under $1.4 million. A CELCP grant provided slightly less than 50 percent of the funding and the rest came from the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund. The city of Port Clinton owns the property and Black Swamp Conservancy holds a conservation easement over the entire preserve, requiring that the land be maintained as a nature preserve forever.

“Lake Erie is a tremendous natural resource. The lake provides drinking water for millions of Ohioans and habitat for many species of fish, birds, animals and plants. Lake Erie also attracts thousands of visitors each year for boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational opportunities," said Kevin Joyce, executive director of Black Swamp Conservancy. "Our conservancy is extremely pleased to be able to partner with the city of Port Clinton, state of Ohio and The Trust for Public Land to protect the Lakefront Preserve in perpetuity for public use."

TPL would like to use this project’s success as an example to lead additional coastal communities to increase their public access.

“Because of the leadership and vision of community and political leaders, the Port Clinton lakeshore will be protected and enjoyed by the public. We are grateful to the state, the city of Port Clinton, and the Black Swamp Conservancy for working with TPL and the community to create a spectacular Lake Erie preserve,” said TPL Project Manager Neal Hess. “TPL is working with other community leaders to provide park land along Lake Erie, and the Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve is a significant success story representative of our commitment.”

The City of Port Clinton plans on seeking additional grant funding for removal of invasive plants and improvements to coastal marsh habitat.

“The Lakefront Preserve is one of the great achievements for Port Clinton in some time,” said City of Port Clinton Council President Linda Hartlaub. “We could not have accomplished joining two parks together with the Lakefront Preserve addition without The Trust for Public Land and our other partners.”

According to the ODNR Office of Coastal Management, the Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve acquisition brings the number of federal CELCP dollars secured by the state of Ohio to more than $16.8 million. The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program helps protect coastal and estuarine lands considered important for their ecological, conservation, recreational, historical or aesthetic value or that are threatened by conversion from a natural or recreational state to other uses. Learn more at: www.ohiodnr.com/coastal

The Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program helps to fund preservation of open spaces, sensitive ecological areas, and stream corridors. Learn more at: www.clean.ohio.gov

The Black Swamp Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust whose mission is to protect and preserve natural and agricultural lands in northwest Ohio for the benefit of future generations. Learn more at: www.blackswamp.org
The Trust for Public Land is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Learn more at: www.tpl.org

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