Shared from the 2/11/2018 Sandusky Register eEdition

A LOCAL TREASURE

Conservancy acquires Bay Point Sandbar

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Provided photo

ABOVE: An aerial shot of the Bay Point Sandbar.

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LEFT: Cedar Point, as seen from the Bay Point Sandbar.

MARBLEHEAD

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy acquired the Bay Point Sandbar, a popular spot for local boaters, to preserve it in its natural state.

The 68-acre property is at the Bay Point Resort, which donated the land. The land is valued at more than $1 million, according to Western Reserve. The Sandbar stretches south from Marblehead Peninsula, into Sandusky Bay, and has trees in his northern section.

The acquisition was in the works for a long time, said Andy McDowell, vice president of Western field operations for the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

“We started talking to them several years ago,” he said.

Bay Point Resort has more than 227 acres and includes a marina, a campground, a residential community, a restaurant and other amenities, according to the resort’s website. As it is a gated community, access by the general public is often by boat, McDowell said.

Charles Papy, the managing member of Bay Point Acquisition, said in a statement the resort is pleased to assist in preserving the sandbar.

“On behalf of our long-term members and residents, we are pleased to make this gift.

We are proud to partner with the Land Conservancy to preserve this unique, natural gem along the beautiful shores of Lake Erie. Because of their expertise and hard work over many years, this amazing place will remain pristine forever,” Papy said.

McDowell said the Western Reserve Land Conservancy seeks grant applications and will attempt to raise about a quarter of a million dollars to help preserve the sandbar, including work to restore bird habitat.

Western Reserve said it obtained funds for the project through the Ohio Public Works Commission Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund and the Ohio EPA Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program. A grant was submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

He said his group plans to allow boaters to continue to visit the sandbar.

“We don’t anticipate curbing any access to that,” he said. “The boating community has policed itself pretty well over the years.One of the things that touched me about this property the most is how much it has touched other people,” McDowell said.

People who used to go there years ago are now taking their grandchildren, he said.

“I was pleasantly surprised by how many people who were personally impacted by this and praying they could still access the sandbar,” he said.

Scientists have spotted more than 80 bird species on the property. Seven of them are classified as rare or particularly interesting: the common tern, great egret, magnolia warbler, blackburnian warbler, brown creeper, dark-eyed junco, and green-winged teal. A snowy plover was spotted there in September 2010. The bird has not been known to breed in Ohio since 1955. Western Reserve is able to obtain government grants for the property because the money will be used to preserve rare animal and plant species, McDowell said.

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