New Ohio urban wildlife preserve opens on Lake Erie

Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve transforms previous Dike 14 sediment dumping area into recreational park

Signage at the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve.

The new 1.3 mile trail loop

Cleveland’s newest nature preserve was opened today by a cast of local dignitaries. The 88-acre urban wildlife preserve on the southern shore of Lake Erie provides a 1.3 mile loop walking trail through a former sediment disposal area.  The area will be managed by the Port Authority.

Cleveland Councilman Jeffrey Johnson, Port Authority Vice-Chair Marc Krantz, Cleveland Metroparks Executive Director Brian Zimmerman, County Executive FitzGerald’s Chief of Staff Matt Carroll, the

Opening ceremonies for the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve

Opening ceremonies for the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve

Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Director of Wildlife Resources Harvey B. Webster, and Port Authority CEO Will Friedman took the podium to officially open the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve to the public.

Over time, researchers and others visiting the site have identified more than 280 species of birds, 29 species of butterflies, 16 species of mammals (including red fox, coyote, mink, and deer), 2 species of reptiles, 26 Ohio plant species (including wildflowers and grasses) and 9 species of trees and shrubs.

Audubon Ohio has designated the site as an Important Bird Area (IBA), due to its location at the intersection of four migratory bird routes: Lake Erie, the shore of Lake Erie, the Cuyahoga River Valley, and the Doan Brook Valley.

The park now provides a habitat for various butterflies, birds, and small animals in a combination of trees, bushes and tall grasses. In recent years, this has already become a major stop for Monarch butterflies on their September migration. Thousands of butterflies can be found in this one area alone.

Man walks his dog along the new lakefront trail

Man walks his dog along the new lakefront trail

This was the culmination of over 8 years of planning by a collaborative group of local organizations, all working for the common purpose of developing the lakefront into a resource for students and citizens alike. Collaborative members that were involved include: Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association, Earth Day Coalition, The Garden Club of Cleveland, The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Cleveland Lakefront State Park, The Ohio Lepidopterists and Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society.

After the ceremonies, the park was officially opened to visitors and will remain open as a free attraction during daylight hours each day.

The trail is a combination of grassy areas and brush covered dirt that is rather muddy in certain areas. Hiking boots are advised if the weather has been wet anytime recently.

DIRECTIONS: The Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve is located directly behind the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) office at 8701 Lakeshore Boulevard NE, Cleveland, OH 44108. When traveling north on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, follow the road to the right as it becomes Lakeshore Boulevard heading east and make the first left into the ODNR parking lot. Proceed on foot around the west side of the ODNR office to the Nature Preserve entrance.

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