The Lake Erie Birding Trail website is being honored by the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN) as the February Site of the Month, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
The Lake Erie Birding Trail is a partnership between Ohio Sea Grant and ODNR’s Division of Wildlife. This site offers comprehensive information for birding at 86 locations along Lake Erie. The Lake Erie Birding Trail spans 312 miles and covers Ohio’s entire shoreline.
The GLIN is a Great Lakes Commission project and serves as a gateway to the Great Lakes region of North America. Its data holdings and services cover the environment, economy, tourism, education, maps, geographic information systems (GIS), demographics and more. Launched in 1993, GLIN has continued to expand, and currently averages more than 4.5 million hits per month. Visit GLIN at http://www.great-lakes.net/.
Dr. Philip Xie of Bowling Green State University recently released a study titled
‘Socio-economic Impacts of Birdwatching along Lake Erie: A Coastal Ohio Analysis.’ In that study he surveyed birders visiting six popular Lake Erie birding hotspots: Oak Openings Metropark, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve, Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Reserve, Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve and Conneaut Harbor. These locales are part of the 86-site Ohio Lake Erie Birding Trail.
In respect to the Lake Erie Birding Trail, this study found:
- $26,438,398 was generated by birders visiting the six study sites;
- 283 jobs were created as a result of birding visitation to these sites;
- $1.9 million was generated in local taxes;
- This study examined only 7 percent of the sites that comprise the Ohio Lake Erie Birding Trail. Birder-driven economic impacts along the entirety of Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline are undoubtedly much higher.
According to the 2006 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Survey, an estimated 3.5 million Ohioans participate in wildlife-watching activities, including birding.
The Lake Erie Birding Trail has been supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund, which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax check-off program, and by the sale of cardinal license plates and the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. Individuals wanting to donate can also make an online contribution at wildohio.com.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.