Headlands Beach State Park in sorry state of disarray

All politicians make promises with caveats and conditions large enough to drive a trash removal truck through.

Maybe some proof of that came just a day or so ago when I took a bit of time to visit nearby (for me) Headlands Beach State Park.

I do that from time to time, just to satisfy my pessimism that nothing really changes in government, even when the baton is handed off from one administrative ship to the next.

Truth is, I pretty much saw what I was expecting, given the low status that Headlands Beach has accumulated over the years. The same could be said about the (former) Cleveland State Park, which was punted to Cleveland Metroparks when the Ohio DNR failed in its duties to maintain that jewel.

And Headlands is no less a valuable resource, though my recent visit indicated otherwise.

Granted, the place is wet and that has complicated matters at Headlands and other state parks along Lake Erie. We have near-historic high Lake Erie water levels, which has impacted low-lying Headlands. Ditto with above-average precipitation for March, April, and thus far in May. Any number of Headlands’ parking lots and interior roads have standing water in them and the park’s eastern section is cordoned off due to the high water.

I get all of that, though there are other issues that cannot be ignored and have long been a sore point with more than a few Headlands visitors, myself included.

Many of the park’s picnic tables are in horrendously poor shape and are perhaps even dangerous to use, though they remain available. Covered in unappealing moss-like growth, the rotting wood on these picnic tables typically sags and buckles. And the parking lots have long-standing piles of wood chips, branches, and other debris, with everything being pretty unsightly.

Far, far worse is the condition of several park metal trash dumpsters. In fact, one trash dumpster was anchored in ankle-deep water, thus unusable unless one wanted to wade wet in order to lob in a bag of trash. Yes, some substantial portions of the parking lots are inundated, but I seriously doubt it would take much for some piece of machinery to drag this particular dumpster several feet back onto dry ground again.

More disheartening – and unhealthy – was observing how several of the dumpsters were full or nearly full of trash, bags of discarded food, junk, and even broken pieces of what looked like boards from a couple of those picnic tables we mentioned earlier.

Having dumpsters still full of trash two and three days after a major holiday is inexcusable. It is beyond unsightly because it is unhealthy. They are breeding grounds for disease, insects, and vermin, the latter two of which Headlands has in abundance.

I’d much rather see a politician accomplish a little thing like removing disease-carrying trash than for a politician to promise that, with the arrival of a new administration, happy days are here again.

I will believe it when I see it, and right now my eyes are smarting from seeing my hometown state park in such a sad state of affairs.

Categories: Ohio – Jeffrey Frischkorn

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