Every spring, bird enthusiasts from around the world flock to the south shore of Lake Erie for the annual warbler migration. By spring 2018, those birders will have another destination – a new Metropark.
Metroparks is in the process of reverting 1,000 acres near the lakeshore back to a productive wetland called Howard Marsh. It’s a project that will benefit not only birds and visitors, but will also be a step toward improving the water quality in Lake Erie.
The park, on State Route 2 and Howard Road, will have six miles of hiking trails and a five-mile stream that’s being restored for canoeing and kayaking.
“This is one of several projects we’ve discussed for many years, and we’re making good on our promise to finish what we started,” said Dave Zenk, deputy director of the park district. “We all know that water quality in our lake is a timely topic, and more wetlands are part of the solution because wetlands are natural filters that clean water before it enters the lake.”
Howard Marsh will be another jewel in a green necklace of local, state and federal properties protecting the south shore of Lake Erie, including Maumee Bay State Park – home to the largest birding festival in North American, the Biggest Week in American Birding – the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Metzger Marsh State Wildlife Area and Magree Marsh State Wildlife Area. Pearson Metropark in nearby Oregon also has a 300-acre restored wetland that has become a go-to spot for visiting birds and bird watchers.