Lake Metroparks is adding to its inventory of small- and paddle- boat access to the Grand River.
Approved by the agency’s three-member park board June 22nd is the spending of up to $450,000 for the construction of a boat ramp and associated amenities at the parks system’s 54-acre Beaty Landing. This park is located off Route 84 in Painesville and straddles a viable and key steelhead fishing site.
With the addition of the boat launch ramp at Beaty Landing, Lake Metroparks will have a string of three such appointments with each unit spaced about five river miles apart, says Vince Urbanski, Lake Metroparks’ deputy director.
“Beaty Landing is one of our multi-use parks which appeals to a broad range of users, including steelhead anglers from late fall through early spring,” Urbanski says. “And along with the new boat ramp we’re going to add about another one-half mile or so of hiking trails.”
Those trails will help provide even better access to the Grand River for steelhead fishing foot-soldiers, Urbanski says also.
Upstream about five miles is the parks system’s 133-acre Mason Landing Park, currently located in Perry Township.
However, this is a work-in-progress park as the Ohio Department of Transportation moves forward with the construction of a new bridge on Vrooman Road which crosses the Grand River. Among the project’s requirements is the relocation of the park, its amenities and the largely unimproved boat ramp to the opposite side of the river, which will be anchored in Leroy Township.
Located about five miles downstream of Beaty Landing is the 18-acre Grand River Landing, located in Fairport Harbor. It is this small-boat launch site that receives the most interest from boating anglers – and almost certainly will even after the Beaty Landing project is completed, Urbanski said.
“That’s a primary launch site for steelhead anglers wanting to take their boats upstream as far as the can go or else downstream, even to Lake Erie,” Urbanski said.
While the existing Grand River Landing and the planned-for Beaty Landing sites (along with the to-be-relocate Mason’ Landing) are the same thing by providing small boat access to the Grand River, they also are different in some respects, says Urbanski.
Beaty Landing’s ramp size will be narrower than the one at Grand River Landing for starters, says Urbanski.
Even so, Beaty Landing should still prove a vital link for small boat enthusiasts to access a here-to-for difficult-to-get-to stretch of the lower Grand River, says Urbanski.
What will become obvious to boating visitors to Beaty Landing is that the Grand River’s water depth there is much shallower than at the Grand River Landing site and somewhat similar to the Mason’s Landing location, Urbanski says.
Thus while an owner of a small boat who utilize the Grand River Landing park often does so with small outboard engine strapped to the vessel’s transom, the expected boater at Beaty Landing no doubt will employ paddle power for his or her canoe, kayak, or inflatable vessel.
Consequently a steelhead angler who wants to take a fishing float trip will largely discover a nearly five-mile-long stretch of river with virtually no pressure from anglers utilizing gas-powered outboards.
Among the new and revamped amenities planned for Beaty Landing is that Lake Metroparks will “dedicate a few of the present 30 or so parking slots closer to the actual ramp for use by boaters,” Urbanski says.
Urbanski said also the parks system has awarded a contract with a local construction firm and should commence the project within a few weeks. Part of the project’s grunt work is to be accomplished in-house, Urbanski says as well.
And if all goes well, says Urbanski, small boat owners could begin using the ramps by this autumn, “even if the paving portion of the project doesn’t go as planned.”
And perhaps best of all besides the Grand River access hook is that usage of all three landings are – or will be once construction is completed at two of them – free to Lake County residents and non-residents alike.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn