East Harbor State Park
|East Harbor State Park|
|Location||Ottawa County, Ohio, USA|
|Nearest city||Port Clinton|
|Area||1,831 acres (7.41 km2)|
East Harbor's 7-mile (11 km) trail system leads through the many different habitats within the park. The Middle Harbor Trail skirts the southern edge of the Middle Harbor game sanctuary and includes a stop at a bird observation blind. The short Blackberry Trail near the camp check-in station invites campers to enjoy a pleasant evening stroll. Other foot trails near the swimming beach offer the opportunity to observe the flora and fauna of a beach community.
East Harbor lies on the fringe of Ohio's prairie marsh zone • These wetlands are remnants of the Great Black Swamp which once covered an area 120 miles (190 km) long and 30 to 40 miles (64 km) wide • After a period of intense lumbering and draining in the late 19th century, the swamp was nearly destroyed • Only ten percent of Ohio's original wetlands now remain • These wetlands produce more wildlife than any other type of habitat in Ohio • Reptiles and amphibians are numerous including the green frog, American toad, water snake, fox snake and painted turtle • Large numbers of ducks, geese, gulls, terns and other migratory waterfowl delight birdwatchers • Middle Harbor is a game sanctuary where black-crowned night herons, egrets, great blue herons and other shorebirds find refuge • Furbearers in the park include muskrat and red fox • Hundreds of migrating songbirds rest here before winging north across the lake.
A thin stretch of sand beach juts north-ward into the waters of Erie, separating Middle Harbor from the lake. Part of this beach was damaged in 1972 by a storm, washing away a large section of the two-mile (3 km) beach. The current beach is a much smaller area to the north of the park, where swimming is permitted. More recently, four segmented offshore breakwaters have been constructed on the Northern section of beach, to sustain what is left of the sandy shoreline.