Summer Visitors to Middle Bass Island...
Columbus, Ohio -- Visitors to Lake Erie's Middle Bass Island this summer will find early signs of a state park under development, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. (ODNR)
The public is welcome to walk the grounds and use the marina, but ODNR is not promoting the property as a full-fledged state park until more amenities are made available.
The state purchased almost 124 acres at the southern tip of the 758-acre island last year at a cost of $6.75 million. The site includes the former Lonz Winer; a mile of undeveloped shoreline; glacial grooves and other natural features; wetlands and grasslands that house several endangered species of plants and animals; and a safe harbor marina. Only winery buildings that are closed for safety reasons will remain off limits to visitors this summer.
"ODNR is gathering public input about the kind of recreational facilities Ohioans want to see on Middle Bass Island in order to plan a new state park," said Sam Speck, ODNR director. "In the meantime we are making a few immediate improvements for the convenience of island visitors this summer."
By July, ODNR anticipates installing 25 new docks at the island's marina to accomodate visiting boaters for stays of up to 10 consecutive days each. As many as 50 boats can tie up at the new docks - which cost about $125,000 to complete.
Daytime dockage is available on first come, first served basis. Dockside electric and water will not be available this summer. A reservation and deposit (credit cards accepted) are required for overnight stays. Boaters should call the Lake Erie Islands State Park office at 1.419.797.4530 for reservation information.
Lake Erie Islands State Park Staff will be on duty at the marina and at a temporary office on the Middle Bass Island property on a part-time bassis this summer. Portable restroom facilities will be available at the marina. Campers can take advantage of nearby East Harbor State Park, Kelleys Island State Park and South Bass Island State Park.
A draft of the future park's master plan will go "on the road" by mid-summer in the form of public meetings and open houses where people from the area can express their reactions and opinions to planners. A final master plan will be completed before the end of the year. Actual construction of park facilities is not expected to begin before 2004.
"By including the public in all phases associated with the development of the future Middle Bass Island State Park, we hope to create a facility that will address a wide variety of conservation needs," Speck concluded.
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