The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Richard Allan today (April 4) encouraged Pennsylvanians to vote for Presque Isle State Park in a national contest to honor America’s Best Restored Beach.
“It is unique for Pennsylvania to be part of this contest, given that most of the beaches included in it are coastal,” Allan said. “This is a good way to remind people that the beaches on Lake Erie at Presque Isle are Pennsylvania’s ‘seashore’ and are among the many special features that make our 120-state park system so diverse.”
The association, or ASBPA, created the Best Restored Beach award a decade ago as a way of highlighting the value of restored beaches. Beach restoration is the process of placing beach-quality sand on dwindling beaches to reverse or offset the effects of erosion.
A new vote can be cast every day from now through April 27. Winners will be announced in mid-May.
Presque Isle is a candidate in the Park/Habitat Beaches category that includes areas that undertake beach nourishment solely for habitat restoration and park projects.
The Presque Isle Peninsula is a 6.7-mile long, 3,200-acre spit forming one of the finest natural Great Lakes harbors. To protect the peninsula, Congress authorized in 1986 the construction of 58 offshore rubble-mound breakwaters and initial beach restoration that act as a barrier reef.
In 1989, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (working with DCNR as the local sponsor) entered into a partnership to restore the fragile ecosystem and maintain the park.
The restoration project placed a total of 584,713 cubic yards of sand on the beach between 1993 and 2010, and has reinvigorated the fragile ecosystem that supports many endangered species.
The peninsula is a National Natural Landmark which presents five different series of primary plant successions from beach to forest. It also contains a greater number of endangered, threatened and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania. It is a favorite stop for migrating birds.
Presque Isle State Park also attracts more than 4 million visitors annually, a higher number of visitors than many national parks receive.
The gateway to Presque Isle is the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, dedicated to teaching visitors about Presque Isle and the many different forms of life that inhabit this unique peninsula. There is free admission to the interactive exhibits and the 75-foot observation tower.
For more information about ASBPA, visit www.asbpa.org.
For more information about Presque Isle State Park, go to www.dcnr.state.pa.us and choose “Find a Park.”
Votes in the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association contest can be cast at http://www.asbpa.org/about_us/about_us_best_restored_beach_2012.htm.