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Much has changed since Emma first hiked the AT. So many of the scenic views of her day are gone. We know she would be excited to hear about this.


Washington, D.C. (August 4, 2020) – On July 23, 2020, the National Park Trust transferred ownership of 239 acres of land in one of the most popular areas of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) near Troutville, Virginia to the National Park Service. In the fall of 2018, the Park Trust volunteered to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) in the acquisition of the property in Hogan Hollow, Virginia. The landowner wanted to sell before the National Park Service could accept the acreage, so in June 2019, the Park Trust worked with The Conservation Fund to acquire and temporarily hold the property until it could become part of the A.T.

The ATC was awarded a grant from the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to make the purchase and The Conservation Fund managed the transfer of the property from the landowners.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy gives its sincere thanks to the National Park Trust for making the preservation of Hogan Hollow a reality,” said Sandra Marra, President and CEO of the ATC. “This acquisition will help preserve the views from McAfee Knob, one of the most beloved locations on the entire Appalachian Trail, and ensures that the area’s natural beauty and ecologically important lands are preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations.”

Wendy Janssen, superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, said about the acquisition, “This acquisition highlights the power of partnership in preserving and protecting the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The National Park Service thanks all those involved for their commitment and support to secure the Hogan Hollow property and this critical viewshed for the enjoyment and benefit of all.”

Thousands of hikers each year see Hogan Hollow from McAfee Knob. The 3,197-foot overlook is thought to be one of the most scenic views on the A.T. It’s been said that more pictures are taken there than any other place on the trail. This view could dramatically change if the property was developed or the trees cut, which happened on neighboring land. This project also protects a section of the trail which runs through the property.

National Park Trust’s Executive Director Grace Lee stated, “We are delighted to provide our assistance and expertise to benefit the preservation of our national park sites, and are pleased to be able to assist the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in preserving this land for park visitors to enjoy in perpetuity.”

Hogan Hollow is the Park Trust’s third completed project to acquire land for the A.T. In conjunction with conservation partners, 219 acres near Pawling, NY were added in 2018 and 1,494 acres at Bald Mountain Pond, ME in 2019.


National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. The Park Trust is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of preserving national parks through land protection and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, National Park Trust has benefitted 48 national park sites across 28 states, one U.S. Territory, and Washington, D.C. Annually, the Park Trust provides an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support nearly 300 Title I schools. Find out more at


Media Contact: Ivan Levin at 540.818.5818 or

PIBIO- Diversity-Centric Customer Service

By Peter Huston

We enjoy the luxury of living on a desirable island that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every summer. The key to having a sustainable economy here on South Bass is to be welcoming to the every part of our expanding visitor population.

Successful regional marketing, along with networked and intertwined social media strands has allowed us to share island life to a widening demographic. Ethnic groups from neighboring cities are learning about island life and are excited to see it first hand.

The economic engine of a summer resort requires local proprietors to become savvy to their expanding clientele in short order or lose out on potential growth. With summer help at a premium, island businesses rely on young workers with little or no customer service experience.

Many of these first time workers may only speak English as a second language. With the growing number of culturally diverse customer visits to the island, understanding how to be a good service provider is key. We need to be sure we don’t let language and training be a barrier to successful transactions.

It is not necessary to unconditionally love every person that comes through our front door. However, it is important to welcome all that come in and provide consistent customer service. Often this is a process of litening and learning, but with our short season we need to be able to have our front line personnel be ready for challenging and unfamiliar customer service interactions and circumstances.

The process of selling the island experience continues to change as we try to provide concise detailed messaging to our new customers. Effectively explaining the local offerings and sharing that on social media and in the mainstream news is critical to setting the expectations of new visitors. We’re promoting island life on the Bass Islands for families, couples, empty nesters and Millennials, but we need to be careful not to portray it as Disneyworld or Key West,

Recent events that have permeated television news show a growing disconnect between employees not using common sense and good customer service. A national coffee chain got sucked into a maelstrom of bad publicity and negative social media when two African American customers, waiting for a friend were not allowed to use the bathroom.

Non-customer interactions happen daily without incident, but only if there is consistent understanding and implementation of company policy. In resort areas like ours mistakes happen, credit card processing and booking mistakes occur, but common sense and good customer service training will enable your staff to have positive outcomes and return business. A proprietor’s policy is a teachable idea. Setting a workable policy and having your staff be able to explain it is the key to long-term success

We’re excited to have Dr. Kitty Brandal an expert in Diversity based customer service training present a introductory course for island workers, management and interested islanders for free on June 12th. She describes her course as “Diversity-Centric Customer Service”

“The world is a global economy and Ohio is a significant part of that economy, especially in the tourism and hospitality industries. You may work with someone that you went to high school with, but the customer in front of you may be someone from the other side of the world. Because of social media, that customer’s experience could be shared around the globe. Great customer service is more than just manners. It takes special skills to serve people from diverse backgrounds (religion, gender, ethnicity, age, disabling conditions, language, etc.)”.

This program will help to create a diversity-centric awareness for people in the customer service profession. If you would like to sign up for this free course, there is still time. Email us at and include “diversity” in the subject line.

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 10.35.32 AMBy Peter Huston

Pets are a huge part of many people’s lives these days. Pets often are a “member” of the family. There’s doggie day care and pet resorts for when their owners travel. But, we see more and more people wanting to travel with their pet, especially dogs, than ever before.

A handful of “Pet-friendly” hotels and attractions are actively welcoming pet owners with special deals and overnight opportunities. But it is not easy to bring your pet along on vacation. Pet owners need to do their research to find pet friendly destinations, attractions and accommodations.

Websites have been set up to help with the navigation of pet travel choices. There are dozens of pet sites that can assist with everything from pet walkers to resort reservations. Some of the more note worthy sites include;,,, and my favorite crowd sourced site, which allows pet owners to post pet friendly experiences and freely exchange information without being peer reviewed. provides pet owners with pet care givers and dog walkers by locality. This past summer the chamber of commerce was contacted by, because they were looking for possible pet care providers on South Bass Island. We posted several requests, but interestingly there was no one that came forward to volunteer their name or services. (This is probably a second job in the making for an industrious teenager or summer employee looking for extra work.)

There are lodging places that advertise their willingness to have pets. Often with pet lodging there may be rules like only one pet per room, a size limit of 20 pounds and a special deposit and cleaning fee that is above the standard pricing structure.

Bringing your pet to dinner or out to a bar is an even greater challenge. Currently there’s a bill in the Ohio State House that would allow restaurants and bar owners to have some discretion as to whether they can permit pets in their out door areas. Ohio Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Township, introduced the bill that would allow restaurants to welcome dogs onto their patios as long as they abide by health department standards for cleanliness and food safety.

Dogs would still be prohibited from all indoor spaces – with the exception of service animals. And businesses could still ban pets on their properties if they choose. Many pet owners point to European acceptance of pets in restaurants as the “right thing to do”. In truth EU laws give discretion to the proprietor, but that proprietor must provide adequate controls to keep pets from being in food prep and delivery areas.

One caveat to pet law restrictions is Individuals with disabilities. states “many people with disabilities require the use of a service animal throughout their daily lives. Both federal and state laws offer protections for the use of service animals in various situations, including places of public accommodation, employment, housing, education, transportation and air travel, and state and local governments. “

Some pet owners have taken steps to have their pets “officially” registered as service animals. It appears that this is a gray area in the law that encourages unverified registration. Sites like provide free portals to register your animal and other sites sell pet owners “Service Animal” pet clothing.

Ohio has two laws on the books that allow pets into hotels and restaurants according to legal advocacy group and they will help pet owners that feel they have been discriminated against. Ohio has a specific standard for service pets, under state code 955.011 and registration for guide, leader, hearing or support dogs to be free and permanent.

What does this all mean for pet owners and tourism? The potential for growth in the pet tourism sector is quantifiable and many businesses see it as an important new demographic. Other proprietors see the need to have pet free, allergen free spaces for their customers. Responsible pet owners and their pet’s behavior can influence access and encourage businesses to be pet friendly, the alternative would be a dog gone shame.

by Peter Huston

One of the best reasons for living in a small town is the opportunity to get to know the people that make it all work. This spring Steve Riddle, the Village of Put-in-Bay Police Chief, hired a detective from the Cleveland area to join our force. His experience and mentoring abilities made him a great choice for helping to train the many first time police hires we rely on during the summer months. The goal is to emphasize community policing.

“Community policing is a philosophy of full service personalized policing, where the same officer patrols and works in the same area on a permanent basis, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve problems.” According to Ferreia Bertus author of “The Use and Effectiveness of Community Policing in a Democracy”

Community policing creates partnerships between law enforcement agency and other organizations, community members, nonprofit service providers like the chamber of commerce, private businesses and the media. Our island’s response has been positive, as both officers and community members see the effectiveness in reducing crime and raising the sense of security in the community.

But, it is a tall task to train a force and keep the wheels turning. The first time I had the opportunity to meet Detective Ian McInnes he was getting ready for our first big event of the summer, PyrateFest IX. I was surprised to see that he had learned about our great PyrateFest and created some PyrateFest shirts for the police to wear as a fundraiser.

This early show of community involvement immediately got my attention and interest. I sought out the shirt and contributed to their fundraiser. On PyrateFest weekend, our young police force had made a direct connect to the community and the visitors coming to the island. Ian McInnes thoughtful and persistent presence all summer long earned him a spot in community collective.

Flash forward to the last week before Labor Day and the 9th Annual Put-in-Bay Sports Car Reunion. One of the most cherished parts of the weeks activities for the racers and attendees is the laps around the island. As far as we know there are no road races in America anymore. The one here on South Bass was one of the last. Very few, perhaps none in the country still have the actual course in tact.

Put-in-Bay’s old course, that started and finished on Delaware Ave. is truly an iconic destination for a generation of car lovers that has grown every year. This year we had 160 cars register for the island event. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of extra cars and people on the road. The PIB Police department worked with the organizers to create the best experience possible for the residents, volunteers and car owners.

Chief Riddle selected Detective McInnes to be the managing officer and lead car in the parade around the island. With two-dozen volunteers at all the key intersections and turns the parade got underway at 6pm Monday night. As I stood watching from the front of the old Crescent Inn I was excited to see such a great turnout by the community as well. What a great moment.

Later Tuesday night at the driver’s awards dinner held at Joes Bar, Detective McInnes was called up to the stage (porch) and honored with a standing ovation from the audience for his help and involvement. But what got my attention was a moment that happened later that week.

It seems that Detective McInnes is an Iraq War Veteran and 11 years ago he had been at the USO gathering in Iraq when Toby Keith played. He had been lucky enough to get his picture taken with Toby. He must have wondered out loud about getting a chance to get that picture signed. With a little help from some community members, that actually happened! That’s the essence of community policing at its finest.

By Peter Huston

Rarely has an event sponsorship been so appreciated, so appropriate, and so timely as this year’s Put-in-Bay IMG_6852PyrateFest IX Costume contest. This is really not a shameless plug, but more like a love letter. Thanks to the Cayman Islands, Cayman Airways and the Sunset House, Terry Robbins and his girl friend (name) are getting a trip of a lifetime.

Terry has been coming to PyrateFest practically since it started. He’s a former member of the US Army Special Forces. A wounded veteran from Swanton Ohio, who goes by Captain Jack Calico Rockam during PyrateFest, Terry loves being a pirate.

I first met Terry last year. He was in a wheel Chair, but he was every bit a pirate. He had one of the best costumes I had seen. I took his picture (see below) and asked his name. I should have asked about his life story.

Turns out that three years ago Terry was bedridden and worried that his days were numbered. He asked his friends to bring him to PyrateFest. If it was going to be his last year he was not going to miss it. His friends brought him and he had the time of his life. (see picture)

The following year, Terry under went surgery and by the time PyrateFest VIII rolled around Terry was back again in a wheel chair. Wheel chair be damned, he came and entered the contest for best costume again, but lost to a “beautiful wench”. Alas.

So flash forward to PyrateFest IX, which was in full swing. We were running around taking pictures of “pyrates”. There were lots of really great costumes this year. I spied this guy who looked familiar. I went over and introduced myself.

Suddenly I realized that this pirate in front of me was Terry. I blurted out, “hey where’s your chair?” Terry smiled and said “thanks for noticing.” Terry was walking and smiling. This had to be a flat out miracle! After his surgery and a year of physical therapy, this guy who thought he would never be able to walk again was ready for his shot at this year’s costume contest.

As the day progressed over 36 “pyrates” had registered for the costume contest. Ty Winchester, in rare form as his “Lord Mayor” and contest host brought up the 36 pirates one at a time. When Ty saw Terry standing on the stage, I’m pretty sure I saw a tear in the corner of his eye.

When the judges had finalized their votes for the final three top contestants they were locked in a tie between two, a mother who had hand made her Jack Sparrow look a costume including the amazing life like wig and Terry.

They called over Ty and asked him if he could break the tie. Ty went back to the stage and delivered a beautiful and heart warming speech about Terry. I am certain there were many many moist eyes as he completed the story and awarded this years winner, Terry Robbins with a trip for two to stay at the Sunset House at the Cayman Islands aboard Cayman Airways.

I sure hope the folks in the Cayman’s hear about Terry’s story because it is a powerful reminder that life is always changing and good things can happen. I am certain that PyrateFest’s sponsor Jeff Ginther from the Cayman Island Tourism office got way more than he ever imagined when Terry won that June afternoon.


By Peter Huston

We haven’t had many “A” list celebrities come to Put-in-Bay (in a very long time). With the exception of Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, I really can’t even think of even one. Most of the current Hollywood stars or big time sport types don’t make their way here at all.

When I was growing up comedian Paul Lynde (originally from Mount Vernon Ohio) was my favorite star on Hollywood Squares TV show. He was the center square for many years. His acerbic whit and cutting satirical humor made me laugh out loud. You might be surprised to know that he had a direct connection to Put-in-Bay. As a child he was a camper at the summer choir camp here on the island. His child’s eye view hand painted map of Put-in-Bay is still on display at the Mount Vernon Historical Society. Later he worked for Chick Linker at the original “Boat House”. Very few will remember him anymore and I don’t think he ever came back once he was a star.

When I give tours I like to mention actress Katie Holmes who grew up in Toledo (she was married to Tom Cruise). I understand her parents come to the island from time to time, but that’s as close as we can get these days to Hollywood. I think that’s just fine. We don’t need to have top tier Hollywood Celebs to make us the “cool kids”, no sir!

We are so off the radar, heck even most of second and third tier celebrities that go to trade shows from our baby boomer past don’t visit either. If they did I bet most millennials’ would probably not even recognize them unless they watched “TV Land”!

Some people might still recognize “Seinfeld” characters. We had Larry Thomas, the Soup Nazi here a couple of times. His character might create a flicker on “the face or recognition” meter if he returned. Truth is that much of the stories I could tell about the movies, TV shows and “Stars” that came to Put-in-Bay won’t even register with anyone under 30.

In today’s social media driven world (I heard on a morning talk show) many “celebrity du jour” stars (I don’t even have a clue who they are) are getting paid 6 figures to be social media spokes people. I was thinking maybe if we could recruit one of those up and coming stars we could invite them to give it a go for us. Or better yet maybe we could make up our own “island stars” and have them start a “Celebrity” Twitter conversation about #PIB with @seakingjames, @mileybucyrus or @jayseapib!

Still, I’m not that optimistic we can get a star, so as a plan B I think what we need here is a big time Hollywood movie. We need to lure them to shoot here on the island. All we need is just one scene, and we can even tell them we’re really near Canada to make it seem more hip. I mean Cleveland has had a bunch of action movies like “Bat Man”, Mansfield had the “Shaw Shank Redemption”, and even Sandusky had the “Edge of Seventeen”.

We almost had a shot at island stardom last year with “Perry’s Luck”, the film that was slated to be shot about Oliver Hazard Perry and Battle of Lake Erie… but that fizzled too. So plan C would be to create our own Lake Erie Islands Film Commission (sounds snazzy enough). Let’s dazzle Hollywood with our old cars, unique locations and island charm. When you look at the resources here, we have great “period” buildings, tons of cool old cars, and some nearly deserted islands that would make amazing “sets”. How could they resist?

So summing up this story, no stars here yet, we need to create a buzz, so we can give Hollywood a reason to visit, and see what happens. We will probably survive just fine without them, but it’s worth a shot. Just ask Mansfield Ohio and Upper Sandusky about their success and the long-term residual benefits of “Shaw Shank”. Time to put on the Glitz #Putinbayloveshollywood !


By Peter Huston

What will Put-in-Bay look like in 2030? Or perhaps a better way to think of this is “who do we want to be”? Currently Lake Erie Shores and Islands is our “brand” for the greater Erie and Ottawa County areas. Our local bed tax dollars go into helping to fund the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau, aka LESI. LESI’s mission is to promote our island and the “shores and island” region. Most importantly they are tasked with putting “heads in beds”, keeping our lodging partners busy.

As Put-in-Bay continues to grow our own “brand” we are now able to accommodate more over night guests than ever before. For years our island economy has thrived on “day trippers” but the long-term focus is trending towards extending our season and increasing the awareness of the Lake Erie region, especially the islands here in the western basin.

So with these two entwined missions in mind, LESI is embarking on research to help us to meet our islands goals. I don’t know if we have ever really put those “goals’ to paper, but it is an important concept. As islanders we often express our interest in certain types of visitors we want. We like business groups, sports tournaments, weddings, families and couples. We encourage adventure tourism and outdoor enthusiasts. We worry about young 20 some things that come only to test their alcohol limits, but welcome them back as 40 year olds reliving their past.

But really the bigger picture for us as a region is how to increase our success and do it in a way that makes us (and our visitors) happy to be here. This idea starts with what we envision our island should be. I know that corralling this idea is akin to herding cats. Some are excited to welcome all, others have very specific demographics that they find appealing.

LESI wants to better assist us in this thought process by shaping it’s organization so that it can help us to better achieve our own goals. Whether it is through strategic marketing or bricks and mortar investment, the long-term idea is to strengthen our business base through smart growth that we can sustain.

Right now sports marketing and organized activities like marathons, soccer, volleyball and softball tournaments are growing in popularity. These events don’t have to be charity oriented anymore, in fact many groups run tournament competitions and 5K runs as a business.

For Put-in-Bay, attracting groups that have a specific focus like sports, cars, or boating may have more long-term sustainability. The Journal of Sport and Tourism had a recent article by Hinch, Higham and Moyle called “Sports Tourism and Sustainable Destinations”.

“Destinations serve as the spatial context and reference point for this special issue. They are, in essence, the place where sport tourism is produced and consumed.1 Whether sport tourism development takes the form of sport events, active participation or sport heritage activities, it draws on local resources and forms part of the complex dynamic of community life” 2

So sports minded youth and adults utilizing local facilities, food and lodging on a regular basis could be a top choice. But,there are many options open to us. I bring this up because the Bass Islands are a great example of a “community foundation” for business growth. Let’s look at Mackinac Island for instance. When we visited them this winter we discovered that they had identified weddings as a growth industry. One business owner I spoke with had embraced this, and opened a formal wear rental shop. They had over 750 weddings last year!

This year’s Put-in-Bay Music Fest is taking a step in this direction by co-hosting a American Cornhole Association Cornhole Tournament. Sport, entertainment and other non-vocational hobbies like car and boat collecting can drive tourism very effectively. We have a great base in place. Could this be our future growth area?

In many ways these types of long-term solutions might be just be the perfect answer. Better targeting of these specific visitors may be part of the tasking we require of LESI in years to come. Perhaps our partnership with LESI will helps us to develop the resources and facilities required to compete. Let me know what you think.

1(Higham, 2005Higham, J. (Ed.). (2005)

2(Preuss, 2015Preuss, H. (2015). A framework for identifying the legacies of a mega sport event. Leisure Studies, 34(6), 643–664. doi: 10.1080/02614367.2014.994552[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]; 

By Peter Huston

Up on the top of the ticket booth building at Fox’s Dock here in downtown Put-in-Bay is the Jet-Express Camera. Updated last year to be full HD ( high definition for broadcast use) the camera looks south east at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. On a clear day the camera captures a little of the Sandusky skyline and a glimpse of the tallest roller coaster at Cedar Point too.

 If you live in the Toledo area and get WTOL that camera shot is a regular “go to” shot for the WTOL weather team. You can find it at Jet Cam !

Recently, the WTOL camera feed was “discovered” by the national CBS Morning show staff and has been featured several times in just the past few weeks. I’m thinking that someone in the CBS New York control room is from Ohio! Not only has this been great to see, but I think there will be viewers all over the USA who will start to wonder where “Put-in-Bay, Ohio” is.

img_9118While this winter has not produced the quality ice that brings ice fisherman to the island yet, there is mystery and intrigue that surrounds what winter island life is all about. Back in early December Cleveland’s WVIZ “Ideastream” reporter Elizabeth Miller and PBS producer Margaret Thompson came to Put-in-Bay to do a story about island life.

 Their story “No Ferry, No Problem”! caught the ear of NPR and so the national NPR management have sent the team back to the island again as Miller explains it to do “interviews with Steve Poe (Put-in-Bay School Superintendent) and [Put-in-Bay] students, [Then] we’re planning to use Friday evening and Saturday for a story on culture/community on the island.

 In Miller’s earlier WVIZ story, island resident Caroline Conrad had a message for those who might take pity on folks stuck on an island all winter: “People shouldn’t feel sorry for the people that live here because we’re not bored.” Which I think perfectly captures the spirit of winter residents.

 Winter for islanders is special. Sometimes I wonder if people think we go into hobbit holes and hibernate. There is so much to do here during the winter and unless you just plain hate winter you will keep you plenty busy. Not only is it a great time to do home repairs and catch up with friends, almost daily there seems to be something going on. From aerobics and yoga at the Put-in-Bay Senior center, Wednesday Euchre at Tippers Restaurant, Friday darts at Topsy Turveys, Saturday night dinner at the Reel Bar, Sunday morning breakfast crepe from the Old Forge, to daily pizza home delivery from Blu Luna!

 And with the islands growth in recent years, construction crews are working 10-hour days to complete new projects before spring rolls around. And it is an islander tradition to drive around the island in the winter exploring, checking on construction progress, and looking for wildlife. It’s all part of the mystique of winter here on the Bass Islands.

So the next time you see the live camera shot from the top if Fox’s Dock, look for the cars going by and rest assured that there is life here. As one island resident stated; “In the winter when cars go by the house, you know who they are, where they’re going and when they’ll be back”!

By Peter Huston

Now that the holidays are past we can concentrate on what we enjoy, that peaceful quiet and “isolated splendor” that winter brings us here. But, the second season of Put-in-Bay starts with a ‘thank you’ first, then off to ice fishing. This is a note of deep thanks to all the people, still here on island and those that come here all season long that made 2016 possible. I like to think of it as the power of community.img_4526

Here in Put-in-Bay, that sense of community is felt all year long, but never more than right now as we begin to envision what will be ahead in 2017. You can see it in the turnout at our off-season events and gatherings (both on and off island), the enthusiasm we share with our island friends, and the reminder that the genuine warmth we have shared with those who visit here all season long was appreciated.

Last year was an amazing season. The weather, especially in the early months was so inviting, week after week, that it “moved” people to want to venture here, and to come back again. They came week after week and the net result was one of the best seasons we have had here on South Bass Island. The overnight lodging numbers were up, our businesses were busy, and the weather gods smiled on us more than once (love those sunny days in October). Thanks to the believers here, the many unsung hard workers and volunteers (you know who you are) that made so many others’ visit to Put-in-Bay memorable. Thank you!

A visit to Put-in-Bay is more than the sum of beautiful “Instagram’ pictures, “snap chat” moments and “Facebook’ posts. It’s what stays with us, that special collective something that reminds us later where we have been. It is really the “emotional memories” that will stay with us for a lifetime. That warm greeting you received as you board the ferry, the smile from a server when you get your coffee after a great meal, the funny stories that the island cave guides share with you, or learning a little island history from a ranger while taking in the view from atop Perry’s Victory. It’s all wrapped together in that intangible special sense of place that we provide.

There are lots of great places to visit, some more beautiful, some more awe inspiring, but none more emotionally memorable than right here in Put-in-Bay. I have been all over the United States and invariably conversations about where we live comes up. I am always amazed about the positive reactions and great stories I get in return, when I share that I live “on an island in Lake Erie, know as Put-in-Bay”.

For 2017, the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce will work to build on the successes we shared together in 2016. Dedicated chamber leadership, selfless hard work by friends, and support from our members, made this opportunity possible. We see endless possibilities for expanding upon this effort last year, to share more broadly and deeply that feeling of fun and pure joy that we get here.

In the coming year we will have more places to stay than ever before, we will have some new employee housing choices with affordable condos to buy for those ready to put down roots. We will have great customer services available, new business ventures that will amaze you, and wonderful first time events like the day long Put-in-Bay Music Festival Concert June 10th at Perry’s Victory.

Our mission will be to explore new ways to reach out to our visitors, expanding our efforts to take advantage of great opportunities that lie ahead. And even though we can’t predict the weather, we will be ready to provide that extra enthusiasm that makes a rainy day at the bay still as wonderful as the sunny “perfect” day.

That is the power of community, that is the intangible extra that we can share, that is the emotional memory that we call Put-in-Bay. So let it snow, bring on the ice, we will be waiting for you to return this spring for the best season yet.

By Peter Hustonimg_8253

Have you noticed how many 5 and 10k running races there are these days? They’re everywhere! They’ve proliferated and become a viable business for small entrepreneurial groups like the one Put-in-Bay School graduate Oliver Thwaite started,, that does race management and timing.

But running races and other sports competitions is just the tip of the iceberg. Large media driven groups like Battle Frog and NBC’s Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge are creating and promoting successful sports “destination” competitions. Using television to promote the event, these very popular sports events create local commerce and tourism through fan and competitor interest.

Regionally here in Northwest Ohio we have soccer, rugby, bicycling, volleyball and cornhole (yes cornhole) that have become moneymaking juggernauts. This benefits not just the organizers but the communities as well. Local “walks and runs” (which we have nearly a dozen of now in Put-in-Bay) were for many years mostly organized and promoted by non-profits like Susan G. Komen, Cleveland Clinic, and Stein Hospice for fundraisers. They are now losing market share and being out numbered by “for profit” organizers that bring other innovative events to local destinations like Put-in-Bay.

Groups of like-minded Millennial and Generation X sports enthusiasts have grown up running virtual companies that feature websites and regular activities that promote the destination. These small organizations stage multiple events yearly. Indoors and out. Their popular events, like “Battle at the Bay” volleyball not only brings players to Put-in-Bay (750 or so) but friends and fans that hang out, eat, shop and enjoy our local venues.

Large national sports marketing companies like Sports Force ( have figured out that they can create the venues and become the host location for events. Locally they have teamed up with Cedar Faire (Cedar Points parent company) to buy the former Griffing Airport in Sandusky and turn it into a mega sports complex. Sports Force is building a large very “green’ venue that will feature baseball diamonds, football fields, food and merchandising.

This outdoor facility can potentially generate millions of visitors that will come to Sandusky to watch or play in a tournament, stay in a local hotel and go to Cedar Point, even Put-in-Bay. Erie County’s interest in this development is so keen that their commissioners went out of the way to help reduce the red tape to get this project sited and approved.

Here in Put-in-Bay we have great interest from many organizations and businesses both local and regional that want to stage their event here. When you look at the choices for local development, keeping open “green” spaces available for events and sports related tournaments looks pretty appealing.

We have precious few green spaces here on South Bass, but there are still many weekends open to entice creative event planners to visit. Thankfully Island Resorts, Put-in-Bay Township Port Authority, Put-in-Bay Township Park District and the National Park Service see the long-term potential of using their green assets encourage and promote current and future events. It really is a “win-win” for everyone.