Nature lovers and history buffs planning excursions to the Lake Erie Islands have a new resource at their fingertips. Explore the Lake Erie Islands: A Guide to Nature and History along the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail is a 64-page guidebook that provides detailed descriptions of each island and its parks, preserves, and historical sites. Entries also include lists of flora and fauna often spotted in the area, as well as directions, transportation options, and contact information.
The guide was funded by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Fund and created in partnership with Ohio Sea Grant, the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail. It was developed to fill a need for the 68% of American travelers who seek destinations where they can experience the outdoors. The hope is that the book will also highlight the need to protect these natural spaces.
"The Explore the Lake Erie Islands Guide will be a wonderful resource for visitors, with exciting places to visit and information on birds, plants, snakes, and butterflies, and where to find them," says Lisa Brohl, Chair of the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of the Black Swamp Conservancy. "It should bring an awareness and new appreciation of the natural treasures that the islands hold and the need to preserve them for future generations of visitors."
Unlike traditional Lake Erie tourism, which generally takes place during the warm summer months, resource-based tourism happens year-round. Birdwatchers, in particular, are more likely to visit during the spring and fall migration seasons. An increase in the number and diversity of tourists to the area supports economic development in the Lake Erie region.
"This publication will be beneficial not only to each individual site, but also to the many businesses and communities throughout the region that depend on these visitors for much of their income," says Larry Fletcher, Executive Director of the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau. "I anticipate seeing nature and history lovers spending a lot more time in the Lake Erie Islands area once this guide gets into their hands!"
Guidebooks can be downloaded here. Individual copies may be picked up at no cost at the Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Centers in Port Clinton and Sandusky, as well as at South Bass Island’s Aquatic Visitors Center and the South Bass Island Lighthouse. To order by mail, send a $5 check or money order to cover shipping and handling, made out to Ohio State University, to Explore Lake Erie Islands, 1314 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212.