Marblehead Peninsula Trail Study to explore connecting people, places, parks

Nov 1, 2023 | Featured, Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

Meadowbrook Marsh in Danbury Township was in full fall plumage in recent days. Danbury Township has worked hard to make the 190-acre site accessible for birders and outdoor enthusiasts, featuring wetlands and large trees, and can be a great spot for migrant songbirds. (Photo by D’Arcy Patrick Egan)

Perpetually guided by its vision of connecting people, places and parks, the Park District of Ottawa County (PDOC) has selected OHM Advisors to conduct a Marblehead Peninsula Trail Feasibility Study.

The one-year study, which kicked off in October, will explore trail route options, assess safety data, gather public feedback and provide the Park District and other local public entities with guidance for future trail development.

The goal is to make Marblehead safely traversable by foot, bicycle and other non-motorized modes of transportation both for today’s residents and visitors as well as the next generation’s connectivity needs.

“A small scale study was done in the Catawba area last year, focusing on the Catawba Island Trail. The Marblehead study is much larger,” said Executive Director Jannah Wilson of the Park District of Ottawa County. “We’re incorporating the Village of Marblehead and Danbury Township, as well as Lakeside, and the school districts in the area such as the Danbury local schools.

The PDOC Board of Park Commissioners recently passed Resolution 2023-23 Marblehead Peninsula Trail Feasibility Study Consultant Approval at its Tuesday, Sept. 5 public meeting. It gives Wilson approval to sign a contract with OHM Advisors, billed as the “community advancement firm,” to work with the Park District to conduct the study.

In neighboring Port Clinton, city officials also recently approved OHM Advisors to conduct a Recreational Amenities Survey and Plan helping the city to grow its offerings to residents, stakeholders and visitors.

Wilson is encouraged by the opportunity to provide maximum outdoor recreation access and safety to all Ottawa County residents and visitors.

A bright spot for hikers and birders in Danbury Township is the beautiful Meadowbrook Marsh, which hosted the recent Pumpkin Walk at dusk, which included cider and donuts. Marking the trail with jack-o-lanterns were, left, Sara Hill, and Director Jannah Wilson of the Park District of Ottawa County. (Photo by D’Arcy Patrick Egan)

“Developing a cohesive plan for multi-use trails throughout Ottawa County began with the inception of the Ottawa County Active Transportation Plan in 2018,” Wilson said. “Since then, we’ve made significant progress with trail development through the west end of the County and look forward to developing feasible trail implementation plans in the eastern region.

“The Marblehead Peninsula Trail Feasibility Study will be community-focused as we work together to develop plans that will meet the needs of our residents and visitors.”

The Village of Marblehead encompasses approximately 2.5-square miles, and is home to several iconic locations that attract large numbers of tourists and weekenders each year. That includes the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park that draws more than 1 million visitors yearly and is ranked as one of Ohio’s most popular state parks.

The Village of Marblehead, nestled in the “Vacationland” region, is home to specialty shops, locally owned eateries, ferry connection, marinas, beachfront along the Lake Erie coastline, museums, historic sites, nature preserves, community parks and rental properties.

The study encompasses the whole peninsular region and will include a thorough analysis of Lakeside and Danbury Township. The voices and opinions of local and year-round peninsular residents will be greatly valued and needed as representatives from OHM Advisors conduct their yearlong study of the region.

The Marblehead Peninsula Trail Feasibility Study will use a public planning process including online surveys, open houses, an assessment of existing conditions and a steering committee to determine next steps. OHM Advisors, an architecture, engineering and planning firm with offices in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, has a resume that includes projects for a variety of Ohio parks, including the nearby Metroparks of the Toledo Area, Outdoor Sylvania Community Parks, Cleveland Metroparks and Geauga Park District.

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