The department director of Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources has designated the Lake Erie Islands Water Trail as Ohio’s 12th state water trail.
An ODNR department release says the trail comprises five separate sections totaling over 50 miles around North Bass, Middle Bass, and South Bass Islands, Kelleys Island and along the mainland shorelines of Catawba Island and East Harbor State Park.
Department Director Mary Mertz made the designation at a ceremony last Tuesday at Put-In-Bay.
“The Lake Erie Islands join a diverse set of trails across Ohio that offer exceptional opportunities for Ohioans to see and explore our state from the water,” said Mertz. “These trails bring communities together, encourage environmental awareness and provide opportunities for people of all ages to be active and get outdoors.”
Ohio’s diverse system of water trails is statewide and includes the Great Miami, Kokosing, Mahoning, Maumee, Muskingum and Olentangy rivers. Some rivers are wild and natural, while others, like the Olentangy, travel through urban areas.
Visitors to the Lake Erie Islands Water Trail, including paddlers, anglers and nature enthusiasts, will find spectacular views of the scenic, rocky shorelines of the Lake Erie Islands and ways to explore these areas from a unique perspective.
The Put-In-Bay Township Park District led efforts to create the water trail with help from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, Ohio Sea Grant, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In honor of the new water trail, the Put-in-Bay Township Park District also created the Lake Erie Islands Water Trails guide with their partners the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, and the Ohio Sea Grant. The brochure features five circular paddling routes and associated public access points around South Bass, Middle Bass, North Bass, Kelleys Island, and the Catawba and Marblehead peninsula area. Safety, environmental information, access amenities, and paddling distances are also included.
The free guides will be available at Port Clinton and Sandusky Lake Erie Shores and Islands Visitors Centers. It will also be available at the Lake Erie Island State Park Offices on South Bass, Middle Bass, Kelleys Island, and at the Aquatic Visitors Center at Put-in-Bay.