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Great Lakes Article:

73-acre eagle habitat on East Sandusky Bay purchased as beginning of nature preserve
Molly Kavanaugh
Ohio Plain Dealer

Huron Township - The Erie County MetroParks and other conservationists want to create a 1,200-acre nature preserve on East Sandusky Bay. Yesterday, they got started by purchasing 73 acres that is home to nesting eagles and other wildlife.

"Today is substantive and highly symbolic. It really can happen," said Wolfe Tone, who is overseeing the project for the Trust for Public Land.

The Trust bought the property, the first of five parcels needed for the preserve, from the Weiland and Bogert families. Erie MetroParks will manage the property, named the Community Foundation Preserve at Eagle Point. Within the coming year, the trust will transfer ownership to the MetroParks.

Preserve signs will be displayed by midsummer, and visitors will have access to trails and naturalist programs. Public meetings will be held so residents can comment on how to develop the preserve.

"We are just extremely pleased that we were selected to be the stewards of this amazing resource, " said Jonathan Granville, director of the MetroParks.

Carrie Austin grew up on the property with her parents and grandparents. The older relatives hunted and trapped while the children headed out to the bay to canoe. For her sixth-grade science project, Austin chose eagles and had only to walk through her back yard for photographs.

The 41-year-old woman said that as a child, she often yearned to live in a traditional neighborhood. Now she lives outside New York City and treasures her childhood even more.

"You can't imagine 70 acres of untouched land in New Jersey," she said.

The Trust spent $1.2 million on yesterday's purchase and estimates it will spend $4 million more to complete the preserve. The Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation has pledged $235,000, and U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine is lobbying for $2 million.

Gil Steinen, who owns about 200 acres, began advocating a public preserve a couple of years ago. His neighbors agreed that the land, right across the bay from Cedar Point, should remain natural.

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