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Middle Bass Island Meeting Takes Place

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 the 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 permanent residents or summer visitors.

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 summit aims 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 the State of Ohio now owns. Initially built in 1956, the press house 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 rental for special events on Middle Bass Island. We also toured the 1860s wine cellars, which were very impressive of the care in restoring them and the artifacts related to the winery’s history. We concluded the day with dinner at Walleyes, joined by other residents of Middle Bass Island and Put-in-Bay South Bass Island. Who took the Sonny S Ferry to attend the meeting.

The following day, the group was treated to a tour of the Middle Bass Club, which operated from 1874 until about 1922. In its heyday, the club was a trendy destination for families who arrived by train to the ferry and would reach the club dock on the west side of the island


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