Monday, May 09, 2011

Dike 14 to Open Soon as Proposed Nature Reserve

I've been here once during the past five years or so. It is an amazing place to be. 


Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board OKs interim opening of Dike 14 Nature Preserve

dike14.JPGThe Dike 14 Nature Preserve will soon be open to the public for one or two days a week.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Eighty-eight lakefront acres where most people have never set foot will soon be open to the public.

For the past decade, a barbed-wire topped fence has skirted the Dike 14 Nature Preserve. A locked gate prevented entry to the naturalized dredge disposal site surrounded on three sides by Lake Erie, and located on the northern terminus of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
But today, board members of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, which oversees the land, committed the agency to opening Dike 14 to the public for one or two days a week, and eventually on a daily basis.
"Ultimately, we'd like to see a manager take it over, such as the Cleveland Metroparks or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources," said Port Authority CEO William Friedman.
"I'm excited about it. It's something that needs to happen."
Eventually, the dike will acquire a new name -- the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve -- and a relocated gate with a turnstile for people to pass freely into and out of between dawn and dusk.
Prying open the dike has been a prolonged quest of birders, hikers, bikers and environmentalists.
"It's a big step in the right direction," said Harvey Webster of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and a leader of the Dike 14 movement. "This port administration has been outstanding to work with, and understands that this is a community asset."
Now that success is in sight, the celebration has begun.
"We've been talking about this for years," said Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman. "It's one of the most beautiful vistas in the city that everyone can see but nobody can get to.
"People shouldn't have to get on State Route 6 and drive an hour to visit a beautiful preserve like the Holden Arboretum. This will be accessible to everyone in the city."