Passionate Lake Erie advocate David L. Spangler of Oak Harbor, a local Lake Erie fishing guide and activist, was posthumously inducted into the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz last week. The presentation of the state’s highest conservation honor was made during the Governor’s Fish Ohio day celebration at the Lake Erie Shores and Island Welcome Center in Port Clinton.
“Dave Spangler was a long-time advocate for Lake Erie, and I am truly grateful for all his conservation work over the years,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “The Great Lake is one of Ohio’s greatest outdoor assets, and because of people like Dave, families will be able to enjoy Lake Erie for years to come.”
“You cannot be at Lake Erie without thinking of Dave Spangler,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “His passion and commitment to these waters and the Lake Erie fishery were unmatched and truly made a difference in protecting this lake for future generations.”
A Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, Spangler plied the waters of Lake Erie’s western basin for more than 27 years as a licensed charter fishing boat captain. He also was a long-time member and leader of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association.
Spangler traveled the country to represent the interests of anglers and to serve as an advocate of Lake Erie. He frequently traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak with Congressional representatives about much-needed funding and legislation to combat Harmful Algal Blooms in his beloved Great Lake.
Employing his knowledge of the lake and his love of science, Spangler conceived and put into action a plan for charter boat captains to collect weekly water samples each summer. Those efforts provided valuable information to the Ohio EPA and others about the lake’s water quality conditions. This inspirational leadership as a citizen scientist nearly 10 years ago continues to help us better understand Ohio’s waterways.
The Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame was established by ODNR in 1966. Currently, 176 individuals have been accorded the honor, which recognizes a lifetime devoted to the preservation, protection, and wise management of Ohio’s natural resources. Previous Hall of Fame honorees include the legendary Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), Ohio-born explorer John Wesley Powell, botanist Lucy Braun, and conservationist and novelist Louis Bromfield.
The rest of the ODNR Hall of Fame inductees will be announced in August.