Imagine losing 50 feet of your back yard. That’s what has happened along Lake Erie over the past 10 years. This winter was particularly damaging. Because of the mild temperatures the lake did not freeze over allowing north winter winds to create high, rough waves.
The photo above was taken in the Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve at the west end of the Marina Overlook Trail. There used to be a nice little beach area mostly used by the dock renters and others who hike or bike there. You could hike about a 1/2 mile east from this area on the beach. This year the beach is mostly gone and the shoreline east of it has turned into a high bluff. Notice the trees that have fallen into the lake. Several others are in jeopardy. The Shoreline Loop Trail is up there and now it’s even closer to the edge of the bluff. The effects of wind and water are dramatic – this is a big change in the topography from last year. Mother Nature is quite a sculptor.
The Nature Preserve and Lagoons are on the north side of Mentor, Ohio, off Lakeshore Blvd. The Marina Overlook Trail is a road but it is only accessible to motorized vehicles by dock renters. All others must walk, bicycle or borrow a golf cart from the city lagoons office. Dana and I bike in. Some other trails in the lagoons are also open to bikers. (Note to bikers – the speed bumps on the entrance and marina roads are brutal! If you’re with the City and reading this, a bike cut in the bumps would be a kindness.)
The trees and adjoining marsh are full of birds, the woods are full of deer, and the mosquitos and black flies are voracious so bring repellant. In the trees behind me as I took the above photo were Cedar Waxwings and Baltimore Orioles. Swallows were perched the power lines and Redwing Blackbirds called from the marsh. There’s usually a Blue Heron or two and of course Gulls, Canadian Geese and Mallard Ducks. In a grassy spot on the south side of the docks I found a Killdeer calmly sitting on her nest undisturbed by the chaos of car/boat/people traffic around her.
Another unique way to see the Lagoons is on the Water Trail. Bring your kayak or canoe and padde through.
Click on Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve for more info.