Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve

A unique urban wildlife haven on Lake Erie

The original shoreline at the site was part of the land William Gordon willed to the City of Cleveland in 1896 for use as a public park (now Gordon Park).  In 1962, two old freighters were sunk offshore to create a breakwall to protect the park's beach.  During this time it was not uncommon for solid waste to be dumped along the lakeshore.  The waste eventually formed an approximately 10-acre area between the sunken freighters and the shoreline. The Preserve's land mass began taking shape in the late 1970's as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) disposed of sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River in a walled-off area that juts out from the Lake Erie shoreline.  The USACE placed sediment in a confined disposal facility (CDF) called Dike 14 from 1979-1999 as part of its program to dredge the Cuyahoga River.  THe USACE designed the contours of Dike 14 to encompass the entire area.  Over the years, layers of sediment - essentially sand, soil and clay - were placed within the walls of Dike 14,   After the USACE stopped using Dike 14 as a CDF nature took hold, and with very little human intervention, the peninsula became filled with plants, trees and shrubs that attracted diverse species of birds and other wildlife. - now known as the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP).

The Port of Cleveland welcomes visitors to hike, enjoy migratory bird sightings, and check out the prime views of Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline

The CLNP is 88-acres and has three trails consisting of 2.5 miles total.  The area contains a diverse mix of habitats including grasslands, a forest area, meadows, mudflats, shrublands and wetlands.  Over time, researchers and other visitors have identified:

  • 280 species of birds
  • 42 species of butterflies
  • 16 species of mammals
  • 2 species of reptiles
  • 26 Ohio plant species (including wildflowers & grasses)
  • 9 species of trees and shrubs



Public Access

The CLNP is open to the public during daylight hours.  Click here for important information to know before you visit.


The CLNP is located directly behind the Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Office at 8701 Lakeshore Blvd. NE, Cleveland, OH  44108. When traveling north on Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Blvd., follow the road to the right as it becomes Lakeshore Blvd. heading east and make the first left into the Metroparks parking lot.  Proceed on foot around the west side of the office to the CLNP entrance.

For additional information, please contact Linda Sternheimer, Director, Urban Planning & Engagement, at 216-377-1348.