Few places offer visitors so many options for Trails and Preserves as Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. Once past the vibrant downtown area, one is hard-pressed to find a location on the island not blessed with one or more Trails and Preserves for your enjoyment.
Dodge Woods Trails and Preserves
Just a short golf cart ride from town at the intersection of Thompson & Langram road is the Dodge Woods Preserve. The winding nature trail meanders thru a wide variety of trees including the rare Black Walnut, Kentucky Coffeetree, Eastern Red Cedar and the Common Hackberry. The park was purchased by the Put-in-Bay Township Park District with the assistance of funds from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, The John Ladd Family, John Dodge, and the Lake Erie Island Conservancy.
Visitors will stroll thru a well-developed forest and enjoy wildflowers including the Buttercups, Enchanted Nightshade, Short’s Aster, Bloodroot and Goldenrod. An excellent location for Put-in-Bay bird watching, the easy to traverse trails are for walking only. A Convenient bike rack is located at the entrance of the trail and golf cart parking is available.
The Jane Coats Wildflower Trails and Preserves
Three acres of woods have been preserved and dedicated in memory of Jane Coats and well known and respected Put-in-Bay Artist. Private donor fund, as well as assistance from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, have protected this area from development. Many island volunteers assist in keeping the trail in order donating their time and labor.
The trail is located on the southern side of the island and is adjacent to the Ladd Carr Wildlife Woods. It is easily reached by a golf cart or bicycle. The peaceful trail is an ideal place for a jog, walk or romantic stroll thru nature. There are a wide variety of floral species prevalent in the woods. Numerous bird species are abundant including Horned Larks, Tree Swallows, the Scarlet Tanager and many more.
Massie Cliffside Trails and Preserves
Bill Massie was a long time colorful island resident, elected official and singer/storyteller. His life is memorialized at the Massie Cliffside Trails and covers over 11 acres. The pristine shoreline of Lake Erie was preserved with the assistance of The Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, Coastal Estuarine Land Conservation Program, private donations, and landowner donations purchased this plot of land in 2015. Len and Connie Knam purchased four additional acres of adjacent woodland in 2016. The entire park was dedicated in August of 2016.
Located on the eastern side of the island known as Eastpoint, the entrance is well marked off of State Road 357 where a system of trails takes visitors to the shoreline. While traversing the preserve, visitors will enjoy the abundance of wildlife, fauna and native animals. A dock suitable for fishing is located in the preserve.
Scheeff East Point Trails and Preserves
This 8.8-acre park is located on the very eastern tip of Put-in-Bay at the end of State Route 357. It has been preserved in its natural state for the enjoyment of generations of visitors to come. The park is named after Rose Scheeff whose donations were a key part of the Put-in-Bay Township Park District’s efforts to purchase the property.
The park is home to the Lake Erie Watersnake, a non-poisonous but somewhat aggressive snake when provoked. A walking trail meanders around the circumference of the park and there are areas suitable for fishing, kayaking and bird watching.
The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy
The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy operates and controls five key Trails and Preserves on the island. Ladd Carr Wildlife Woods, Peterson’s Woods, The Massie Cliffside Preserves, Jane Coats Wildflower rail and the Dodge Woods Preserve. They also oversee preserves located on Middle Bass Island.
As the island has grown at a frantic pace, a group of dedicated residents and cottagers banded together in 2000 and as a group advanced the Conservancy. Non-profit status was filed and obtained in 2015. Private Donations, Grants and sponsored events provide the funding for the Conservancy’s efforts. Be sure to visit the wide variety of attractions focused on the history, aquatic life, Lake Erie Lighthouses and parks at Put-in-Bay.