Toledo Beach

The Michigan location of Toledo Beach belies its name, but it was, many years ago, the summer destination of  many residents of Toledo, Ohio. I swam there as a child in the 40’s and 50’s- just before it closed. I’m reminded of that wonderful stretch of sand and the breaking waves because of an email I received from my son.  They were at another lake this weekend and, according to the email,  his youngest had to be carried from the water’s edge, sobbing, because he didn’t want to leave the beach and go home.  Gulp.

Toledo Beach, MI 16 miles north of Toledo, OH

For one of my master’s classes, I did a report on the Toledo Beach- its geology, formation and land use.  That paper is long gone but my childhood memories mimic that of my grandson- I never wanted to leave the beach either.

Splashing in the shallows of Toledo Beach 1944

What is it about beaches, water, the waves and the sand? Ultimate freedom, I suspect and a clear diversion from life back at home.  My son, too, enjoyed his many hours of beach time when we went on vacation.  Perhaps it’s a meme passed down now to the 4th generation.  Hopefully my grandson will provide that same experience to his children, too.

Lake Erie nearly ‘died’ in the 1970’s with all of the pollution, agricultural run-off and eutrophication with the  subsequent algae growth.  Not only did fish die, but so too the recreational areas along its coast. We were so careless and ignorant during those years because we allowed it to happen, right before our eyes.  Today’s gushing oil well beneath that other body of water is a stark reminder of what unregulated consumer activities can do to a natural wonder.

After the Cuyahoga River, that flows into Lake Erie in Cleveland, caught fire in 1969, Congress at last paid attention to the death of Lake Erie and passed the Clean Water Act of 1972.  Time magazine’s June 1969 article on the pollution of the lake caught the attention of the sleeping congress and dumbed-down citizens.  Phrases like the river”oozes rather than flows” and in which a person “does not drown but decays” awakened our legislators into action.

Too bad that we Americans are always doing environmental disaster activities after the catastrophe rather than before it happens.  We apparently didn’t learn from the near-death of Lake Erie in the 60’s; will we learn anything from the near-death of the Gulf in 2010?  Don’t hold your breath!

By the way, Toledo Beach no longer welcomes children to play in its sand at water’s edge.  The beach is gone.  It has been dredged and turned into a marina.  The water is fine, but now there’s no place to dig.

My son digging at the beach, 1975
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7 thoughts on “Toledo Beach

  1. We do to our personal physical selves the same life treatment as we do our earth and environmental surroundings. Until we feel the actual pain we never pay attention to how we treat or have treated our bodies, We are a sum of all those years since we entered this world. What we mimicked, ate, drank, ingested, played, worked, injuries, thoughts, etc. Then we want a magic pill, procedure, or diet to make it go away fast, so we can go back to being our invincible selves.

  2. Midwest and Engineer- I wonder if this evening’s speech by President Obama will be a watershed moment for this nation. Perhaps he will outline a plan to make us more aware of the necessity to be less of a consumer nation and more of a real part of our environment. Lord knows that we can’t go in the same damned direction that we have been going.

  3. I doubt it, Muckrake, I think that the average US citizen has been blissfully unaware of what he (she) does to the environment. Think in terms of suburban sprawl and how people buy SUVs to commute to work.

    Part of the resistance to believing in global warming is that it is a threat to the US lifestyle. It’s easier to accept the deniers’ claims than make the necessary changes.

    Something has to give, but I think it will have to be a very drastic change to make the US public stop being so self absorbed.

  4. Hello again…compute finally operating…cost of $195.00…went to a recommended local entreprenuer to have it done…I’m into keeping it local, lol…enough of these big chains like Best Buy and its Geek Squad!

  5. I remember the green slime that coated the beaches of Lake Erie in the 70’s. While my father was still alive, we would rent a cottage out on the islands and one year, the water turned green from the faucets and when it dried on the beaches, it looked like a clear green plastic coating. That was when they said the Lake was dying. The algae was caused by the fertilizer run off into the lake and it was depleting the oxygen.
    Laws were passed and enforced and years later, the lake has turned around and is becoming healthy again.
    The environment canm heal it self with in reason if we pay attention and learn lessons and alter our habits…it’s in our best interest, of course…
    We are haveing the same problem here on the beaches of Brittany…a bloom of algae that covers the beaches, but even more alarming, as it decays it creates toxic hydrogen sulfide gas pockets which have killed over 15 people in the last 2 years. including a few clean up workers.
    The algae bloom is caused by agricultural run off….

    The problem is fighting the installed and subsidized practices of the farmers. We have a dependance on magic solutions, chemicals which are created to solve short term problems with out regard to the long term effects. The industries which create pollution and the users of the products see any attempt to chage as a threat. They won’t do it on their own, because they are not concerned with the future, immediate corporate and agricultural profits are their only goal.
    That is why these changes have to be regulated and enforced. It is the human condition to deny the need to change and fear it.

  6. That is why these changes have to be regulated and enforced

    That’s easy for you to conclude, Microdot, living in the EU. Have you been gone too long to remember- this is America where corporations rule!

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