Grand Lake St. Marys
Overview
 
Grand Lake Saint Marys State Park is an Ohio state park, west of St. Marys
St. Marys, Ohio
St. Marys is a city in Auglaize County, Ohio, United States. The population was 8,342 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Wapakoneta, Ohio, Micropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

, and south-east of Celina
Celina, Ohio
Celina is a city in and the county seat of Mercer County, Ohio, United States. The population was 10,303 at the 2000 census. Celina is situated on the western shores of Grand Lake St. Marys.-History:...

, 23 miles (37 km) south-west of Lima
Lima, Ohio
Lima is a city in and the county seat of Allen County, Ohio, United States. The municipality is located in northwestern Ohio along Interstate 75 approximately north of Dayton and south-southwest of Toledo....

 in the north-western part of the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

.

Grand Lake covers 13500 acres (5,463.3 ha) in Mercer
Mercer County, Ohio
Mercer County is a county located in the state of Ohio, United States. Its county seat is Celina and is named for Hugh Mercer, an officer in the American Revolutionary War.The Celina Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Mercer County.-Geography:...

 and Auglaize
Auglaize County, Ohio
As of the census of 2000, there were 46,611 people, 17,376 households, and 12,771 families residing in the county. The population density was 116 people per square mile . There were 18,470 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile...

 counties. Grand Lake is the largest inland lake in Ohio in terms of land area, but is extremely shallow, with an average depth of only 5 to 7 ft (1.5 to 2.1 ).

The park is open for year round recreation including boating, fishing, swimming and hunting.
Encyclopedia
Grand Lake Saint Marys State Park is an Ohio state park, west of St. Marys
St. Marys, Ohio
St. Marys is a city in Auglaize County, Ohio, United States. The population was 8,342 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Wapakoneta, Ohio, Micropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

, and south-east of Celina
Celina, Ohio
Celina is a city in and the county seat of Mercer County, Ohio, United States. The population was 10,303 at the 2000 census. Celina is situated on the western shores of Grand Lake St. Marys.-History:...

, 23 miles (37 km) south-west of Lima
Lima, Ohio
Lima is a city in and the county seat of Allen County, Ohio, United States. The municipality is located in northwestern Ohio along Interstate 75 approximately north of Dayton and south-southwest of Toledo....

 in the north-western part of the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

.

Grand Lake covers 13500 acres (5,463.3 ha) in Mercer
Mercer County, Ohio
Mercer County is a county located in the state of Ohio, United States. Its county seat is Celina and is named for Hugh Mercer, an officer in the American Revolutionary War.The Celina Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Mercer County.-Geography:...

 and Auglaize
Auglaize County, Ohio
As of the census of 2000, there were 46,611 people, 17,376 households, and 12,771 families residing in the county. The population density was 116 people per square mile . There were 18,470 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile...

 counties. Grand Lake is the largest inland lake in Ohio in terms of land area, but is extremely shallow, with an average depth of only 5 to 7 ft (1.5 to 2.1 ).

The park is open for year round recreation including boating, fishing, swimming and hunting. The park consists of the lake and park facilities scattered all around the shore intermingled with private property and a facility operated by Wright State University
Wright State University
Wright State University is a comprehensive public university with strong doctoral, research, and undergraduate programs, rated among the 260 Best National Universities listed in the annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings by U.S. News and World Report. Wright State is located in Fairborn, Ohio,...

.

History

President George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 dispatched General Anthony Wayne
Anthony Wayne
Anthony Wayne was a United States Army general and statesman. Wayne adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general and the sobriquet of Mad Anthony.-Early...

 and his army to the Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

 to put down the Northwest Indian War
Northwest Indian War
The Northwest Indian War , also known as Little Turtle's War and by various other names, was a war fought between the United States and a confederation of numerous American Indian tribes for control of the Northwest Territory...

. After the Native Americans were driven out and west, the land was opened to settlement by Anglo-Americans. Homesteaders, including soldiers from Wayne's army arrived soon after.

Grand Lake St. Marys was constructed in the early 19th century as a reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal
Miami and Erie Canal
The Miami and Erie Canal was a canal that connected the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio with Lake Erie in Toledo, Ohio. Construction on the canal began in 1825 and was completed in 1845. It consisted of 19 aqueducts, three guard locks, and 103 canal locks. Each lock measured by and they...

, which connected the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 with Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

. At one time the lake was the world's largest man-made lake. The canal system thrived for about thirty years in the mid-to-late 19th century before it was replaced by the railroads. In the 1890s oil was discovered in the area, and oil derricks were set up in the lake. The lake became one of Ohio's first state parks in 1949 with recreational facilities built in the following years.

The official geographic name of the lake is Grand Lake. The United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 Board of Geographic Names disapproved a proposal to change the name Grand Lake to Grand Lake-Saint Marys, which is the name given on state maps and documents. The 1920 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica shows the name as Lake Mercer on the map of Ohio in the article on Ohio.

Ecology

The land on which Grand Lake St. Marys is located was once part of a forest that stretched from the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 to the prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

 in Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

. Much of the forest was cleared by pioneer farmers as the area was settled in the years following the Northwest Indian War. The forests have been replaced by farmland with fields of wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, soybeans, and corn
Corn
Corn is the name used in the United States, Canada, and Australia for the grain maize.In much of the English-speaking world, the term "corn" is a generic term for cereal crops, such as* Barley* Oats* Wheat* Rye- Places :...

.

Grand Lake St. Marys was once a swampy prairie. When the lake was constructed in the early 19th century, the prairie was flooded. Now the shore of the lake includes woodlands, wetlands and prairie ecosystems that are surrounded by residential development and farms.

The park is located along a major migration route for migratory birds. Commonly seen waterfowl
Waterfowl
Waterfowl are certain wildfowl of the order Anseriformes, especially members of the family Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese, and swans....

 include, geese, loon
Loon
The loons or divers are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Eurasia...

s ducks, grebe
Grebe
A grebe is a member of the Podicipediformes order, a widely distributed order of freshwater diving birds, some of which visit the sea when migrating and in winter...

s, and swans. Wading birds found in the marshy areas of the park include egret
Egret
An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets...

s and heron
Heron
The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae. There are 64 recognised species in this family. Some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron"....

s. Other birds found at the park are cormorant
Cormorant
The bird family Phalacrocoracidae is represented by some 40 species of cormorants and shags. Several different classifications of the family have been proposed recently, and the number of genera is disputed.- Names :...

s and osprey
Osprey
The Osprey , sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than in length and across the wings...

s. The once endangered Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

 has returned to the area and is nesting in the Grand Lake St. Marys Wildlife Refuge on the southwestern corner of the lake. The most commonly found mammals found in the park are Fox squirrel
Fox Squirrel
The fox squirrel is the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America...

s, White-tailed Deer
White-tailed Deer
The white-tailed deer , also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States , Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru...

, Beaver
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

, Coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

, Mink
Mink
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and...

 and Raccoon
Raccoon
Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

s.

Environmental concerns and restoration efforts

Due to the increasingly high levels of lake pollution, E. coli bacteria, and related algae levels, Grand Lake could be dying off as a destination lake and is considered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to be "impaired" due to "stream channelization, drainage tiles, loss of floodplains and streamside vegetation, manure runoff and untreated sewage flowing from failing home septic systems and small communities without any wastewater collection or treatment."

The pollution comes from a variety of sources. Runoff from farmland is one of the greatest problems. Nutrients of livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 waste and natural and chemical fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

s are laden with phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 and nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

. These elements upset the natural balance of the lake and increase the growth of blue-green algae. The algae is a bacterium. The bacteria produce toxic peptides that can be harmful to plants and animals. Humans are also affected by the toxins. Microcystin
Microcystin
Microcystins are cyclic nonribosomal peptides produced by cyanobacteria . They are cyanotoxins and can be very toxic for plants and animals including humans. Their hepatotoxicity may cause serious damage to the liver. Microcystins can strongly inhibit protein phosphatases type 1 and 2A , and are...

 can harm the liver
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

 and cause other health problems including mild rashes and sneezing and even severe gastrointestinal ailments. Agriculture runoff is not the only source of pollution in the lake. Industrial and commercial drainage contribute to the problem as does drainage from out of date septic tank
Septic tank
A septic tank is a key component of the septic system, a small-scale sewage treatment system common in areas with no connection to main sewage pipes provided by local governments or private corporations...

s and municipal sewage
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

 systems.

Heavy deposits of silt
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

 into the lake also contribute to the degradation of the lake. Development of homes along the shore has reduced the number of native plants that helped to strengthen the shore and reduce erosion. Development has also increased the level of phosphates entering the lake by over fertilization of lawns. These excess phosphates directly contribute to plant growth, including the algae in the lake. The native flora that has been reduced served as a filter to keep the excess nutrients out of the water.

Recreation

Grand Lake St. Marys State Park is open for year-round recreation, including boating, hunting, fishing, swimming and picnicking. The campground has 216 sites of which 135 are equipped with electricity. Facilities include modern restroom facilities, a laundry and a dump station. Pets are permitted. On the lake near the camping
Camping
Camping is an outdoor recreational activity. The participants leave urban areas, their home region, or civilization and enjoy nature while spending one or several nights outdoors, usually at a campsite. Camping may involve the use of a tent, caravan, motorhome, cabin, a primitive structure, or no...

 area there is a “camper’s only” swimming beach and a boat dock and launch. Two small and three large cabins are available to rent May–October. Two modern cabins are available for daily or weekly rental.

Grand Lake St. Marys is open to boating, fishing, swimming and water skiing. Boats with unlimited horsepower are permitted on the lake. The state maintains five launch ramps provide access to the lake. A 300 feet (91.4 m) no wake zone has been established around the lake’s 52 miles (83.7 km) of shore. Boats are prohibited from entering a wildlife
Wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

 refuge on the southwest corner of the lake.

The lake is open to fishing year-round. Common game fish include warm water fish such as crappie
Crappie
Crappie is a genus of freshwater fish in the sunfish family of order Perciformes. The type species is P. annularis, the white crappie...

, bass
Bass (fish)
Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."-Types of basses:*The temperate...

, yellow perch
Yellow perch
The yellow perch is a species of perch found in the United States and Canada, where it is often referred to by the shortform perch. Yellow perch look similar to the European perch, but are paler and more yellowish, with less red in the fins. They have six to eight dark, vertical bars on their sides...

, and bluegill
Bluegill
The Bluegill is a species of freshwater fish sometimes referred to as bream, brim, or copper nose. It is a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae of the order Perciformes.-Range and distribution:...

. Hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 is permitted in designated zones. Grand Lake St. Marys provides a habitat for a variety of waterfowl. The state owns ninety duck blinds spread throughout the designated hunting zones.

There are four public swimming beaches as well as other swimming areas provided for boaters, although as of 2010 the water was deemed unsafe for swimming. and so the beaches are now closed until further notice. There are several picnic areas and picnic shelters.

The camp store loans games, fishing and sporting equipment to registered campers. Bike rentals are available at the campground. The park also as a miniature golf
Miniature golf
Miniature golf, or minigolf, is a miniature version of the sport of golf. While the international sports organization World Minigolf Sport Federation prefers to use the name "minigolf", the general public in different countries has also many other names for the game: miniature golf, mini-golf,...

 course, along with basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and playground equipment.

St. Marys Fish Hatchery, located on the lake's eastern shore is operated by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The hatchery
Hatchery
A hatchery is a facility where eggs are hatched under artificial conditions, especially those of fish or poultry. It may be used for ex-situ conservation purposes, i.e. to breed rare or endangered species under controlled conditions; alternatively, it may be for economic reasons A hatchery is a...

 raises saugeye
Sauger
The sauger is a freshwater perciform fish of the family Percidae which resembles its close relative the walleye. They are members of the largest vertebrate order, Perciforms. They are the most migratory percid species in North America. Saugers obtain two dorsal fins, the first is spiny and the...

, walleye
Walleye
Walleye is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the northern United States. It is a North American close relative of the European pikeperch...

, channel catfish
Channel catfish
Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, is North America's most numerous catfish species. It is the official fish of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Tennessee, and is informally referred to as a "channel cat". In the United States they are the most fished catfish species with approximately 8...

 and bass for stocking
Fish stocking
Fish stocking is the practice of raising fish in a hatchery and releasing them into a river, lake, or the ocean to supplement existing populations, or to create a population where none exists...

 in the public fishing waters of the state.

The Grand Lake St. Marys Seaplane Base
Grand Lake St. Marys Seaplane Base
Grand Lake St. Marys Seaplane Base is a public use seaplane base located five nautical miles southwest of the central business district of St. Marys, a city in Auglaize County, Ohio, United States. It is owned by the Ohio Division of Parks & Recreation and is located on Grand Lake St. Marys, a...

 also operates on the lake and serves as Ohio's only airport for seaplane
Seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

s.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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