Whiskey Island, located immediately west of where the Cuyahoga River empties into Lake Erie, was named after a distillery that was built on the land in the 1830s. The "Island" is actually a peninsula of land that was created in 1827 when the mouth of the Cuyahoga River was moved to its current location. Today, Cuyahoga County owns a portion of Whiskey Island that includes Wendy Park and Whiskey Island Marina.
Wendy Park is the only public park in Cuyahoga County that provides direct access to Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. Visitors come to enjoy stunning views of downtown Cleveland, walk along the beach, play sand volleyball and watch the birds that rest before and after their trip across Lake Erie.
After purchasing the property in late 2004, Cuyahoga County, together with Dan T. Moore Companies cleaned up debris on the site, graded the land, cleared a portion of the beach that was littered with driftwood, planted grass and improved parking areas, drives and trails. In June 2005, Wendy Park officially opened.
Cuyahoga County's goals for Wendy Park are to:
- provide the public with clean and safe access to a natural Lake Erie shoreline and to the Cuyahoga River;
- support redevelopment in the Flats by providing residents with nearby access to trails, fishing, picnicking, kayak launching and bird watching;
- provide a place to learn about natural area restoration, local history, renewable energy and green-building technologies.
Whiskey Island concept map
Printable version (PDF)
Wendy Park is named for Wendy Moore, a native Clevelander who was captivated by the wild, rugged beauty of Whiskey Island's shoreline. A passionate and devoted skier, Wendy frequently spent her weekends at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort in the Sierra Nevadas. She died in March 1997 at age 29 as a result of a brain injury incurred while skiing there. She loved Whiskey Island and hoped that one day the beauty that surprised her there would be preserved for everyone to enjoy. Today, the Wendy Park Foundation works to:
- develop and restore the natural environment at Wendy Park to National Park standards of excellence;
- facilitate the restoration of the historic Coast Guard Station;
- integrate Whiskey Island Marina into Wendy Park;
- provide public access to Lake Erie through connecting Wendy Park to the Towpath Trail; and
- create programs and activities that educate the public on Great Lakes ecology, eco-system sustainability, maritime heritage, safety and youth training.
Whiskey Island Marina
Whiskey Island Marina is owned by Cuyahoga County and managed by Whiskey Island Partners. The Marina includes dock space for 230 boats and is protected by two breakwaters and provides direct access to Lake Erie, minutes from downtown Cleveland. The dry-stack building can store 200 boats and marine technicians are on-site. Transient dockage is available with shore power and water available. The Sunset Bar & Grill restaurant is open during the boating season.
Wendy Park at Whiskey Island is one of several public parks within a larger network of lakefront parks in Cleveland, Ohio. As such, efforts are being made to define an overall use program and plan for these public lakefront areas. Management of the former Cleveland Lakefront State Park was transferred to the Cleveland Metroparks on June 6, 2013.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources produced the Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook, which describes each coastal location in Ohio in detail.
In Remembrance of Ed Hauser
We remain saddened by the death of Ed Hauser, who unexpectedly passed in November 2008. Ed was instrumental in supporting efforts for public lakefront access, especially at Whiskey Island. Ed was also present at so many public meetings as he championed responsible public process for transparent and accountable government in policy and decision making. He was a frequent visitor to the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission offices, either to speak at public meetings or to talk to staffers about his ideas, findings, and opinions. Because of his devotion to Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River Valley and Lake Erie as well as his personal charm and earnestness, Ed was our friend. He was our best example of that most honorable member of society: Citizen.