COASTAL OHIO: SAVING LAKE ERIE

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen me posting about our trip to the beach this past weekend.  I shared in my stories that we couldn’t swim in the lake because the algae toxin levels were too high from the algae bloom.  

Lake Erie has been plagued with algae blooms for decades. Algae blooms are formed when warm water temperatures mix with light and nutrients. Since the 1950s, runoff from farms (manure and fertilizer), sewage and industry have caused these blooms to become toxic and harmful. Certain types of algae become abundant in shallow bodies of water and because Lake Erie is so shallow, it often is a catch basin for algae blooms. These blooms are extremely harmful to fish, animal life, and humans.

In 2014 the algae bloom was so horrific, residents in northwest Ohio were unable to drink or use the water for days (this actually fell on the weekend of my bachelorette party. Waking up to no water was not ideal after a night of fun). This incident in particular raised the alarm to the importance of cleaning up and preserving the lake.

As one of five fresh bodies of water (that make up 20% of the world’s fresh bodies of water), it’s really important we do our part to keep Lake Erie clean and free from harmful toxins. Not only do we love the lake for its sandy shores and recreational purposes, but Lake Erie has a huge impact on the local region. Lake Erie provides drinking water to 11 million people. It’s also a large tourism destination and produces the largest amount of consumable fish than all the other Great Lakes combined.

Recent years have seen many individuals, organizations, and brands fighting back and working to clean up and preserve this Great Lake. If you would like to learn more about how you can help conserve Lake Erie, the following organizations are a good place to start. This list is just a start, so if you know of more organizations fighting to preserve our lake, please message me and I will add them to the list.

If you want to support Ohio brands that also contribute to protecting and promoting the Lake Erie lifestyle, then be sure to check out the list below. 

And finally, you can do small things now that make a big impact later such as picking up after your pet, adopting a beach, becoming an ambassador to educate others, or volunteering to clean up streams.

Just by reading this post and being here you are already supportive of protecting Lake Erie and for that I thank you!

Slainte,

Shannon

COASTAL OHIO: LOCAL’S GUIDE TO THE BEACH AT EAST HARBOR STATE PARK

A few weeks ago we took a day trip to East Harbor State Park.  I’ve written about this park that rests along the shores of Lake Erie before and thought a separate post about the actual public beach may prove helpful (as I’ve received several questions).  

The 1500 foot beach is teeny tiny as beaches go. Although the beach is quaint, the views are incredible. We arrived at the park around 10:30 a.m. on a Friday and first spent our time exploring the coastal trails. We may have ventured off the sandy path, but I’m so glad we did, because the views along the rocky shore are magnificent.

We headed over to the public beach around 11:00 a.m. and already the beach was packed. It appeared as though no one was social distancing and no one was wearing masks, so trying to find a spot was a negative for us. Rob suggested we walk along the sandy trail above the beach and boy am I glad we did!!

Just past the public beach are pockets of smaller, “private” beaches. A family was leaving as we were walking along the sandy trail and offered to give us their spot. These small pockets can comfortably fit 6-8 people, which means they are perfect for a couple. There are probably about five or six of these “private” beaches past the public beach.

Because we are in the midst of a pandemic, below are some tips if you want to visit this public beach before summer ends.

  • Plan your arrival time for earlier in the morning.  If you want a private beach or even a claim on the public beach, I would arrive by 9:30-10:00 a.m.
  • Pack your own beach chair and towels.  The beach and state park are too small to offer beach chair rentals.  
  • Pack your own snacks and beverages.  I’ve heard that there are concessions, but I’ve never seen them open.
  • Bring a book, magazine, music, etc. to enjoy while watching the waves crash against the shore. 
  • If you have kids, bring some beach toys.  Note that flotation devices are not permitted in the lake.  
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen and an extra change of clothes or beach coverup! 
  • And maybe throw in some tennis shoes if you want to explore the walking trails after sunbathing. 

I think that covers it! Just as an FYI, the beach does have newly renovated bathrooms and a changing area that are cleaned regularly.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer!!

Slainte,

Shannon