Lake Erie Island Consortium meets. The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Lake Erie Island International Consortium (LEIIC),
met on Middle Bass Island in June. Thanks to excellent planning, staggered arrivals were not a problem as attendees were driven to the Middle Bass-East Point Preserve to observe bird banding with Tom and Representative Bartlett.
After lunch at the General Store, attendees assembled in the Middle Bass Island Town Hall for a presentation of the history of Middle Bass Island, presented by organizer and Middle Bass Island historian Mike Gora. Part of that presentation was a video created by Gordy Barr featuring current residents speaking about their experiences on the island and how they came to love calling it home, either as a permanent resident or a summer visitor.
Jon W Allan and Matt Preisser from the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Office of the Great Lakes, representing the newly formed Great Lakes Islands Coalition, talked about plans being made for the first Great Lakes Islands Summit on Beaver Island in Michigan, on Sept. 25th and 26th, 2017. The purpose of the summit is to lay the foundation for a Great Lake Erie Islands Coalition which would foster broader island-to-island coordination and dialogue. Nancy Welter, Middle Bass Island resident, and employee of the Middle Bass Island State Park invited us to tour the one-room schoolhouse next to the town hall followed by a walking tour of the newly renovated Lonz Winery property, which is now owned by the State of Ohio. The press house, originally built in 1956, is now modernized and ready to be occupied by a vendor to operate out of the building. Last year, the state was unsuccessful in finding someone to fill that need, and requests for proposals are being sought again this year.
A modern pavilion on the Lonz site is available for rentals for special events on Middle Bass Island. We also toured the 1860’s wine cellars which were very impressive not only for the care in restoring them but also the artifacts related to the history of the winery. We concluded the day with dinner at Walleyes, joined by other residents of Middle Bass Island and Put-in-Bay South Bass Island. The next morning, the group was treated to a tour of the Middle Bass Club, which was in operation from 1874 until about 1922. In its heyday, the club was a very popular destination for families who arrived by train to ferries who would arrive at the club dock on the west side of the island