Waterfowl Management area near Montezuma

Excerpted from an “Our Old Book Case” article by Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society, Inc.:

This spring, with this “Lock Down,” I have not driven along U.S. 127, and watched for the geese and their goslings walking in a row, by the highway.  I have not watched for the eagles.  But, that is o.k. since families are staying home, for the purpose of avoiding the Virus crossing our country.  Just because I cannot see the eagles along the lake and cannot see the geese along the Waterfowl Management Area Division of Ohio Department of Natural Resources this spring, does not mean I have forgotten them.  I have those wonderful memories of watching them flying across the lake, over the years.

Waterfowl Management area near Montezuma

Charles C. Hunter, 815 W. Spring Street., Saint Marys, Ohio, was the photographer of the Waterfowl Reserve, but no date was given on the photograph.

Once known as the Reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal, and now known as Grand Lake, this lake not only provided transportation to the Canal, but also has provided us with the beauty which we cannot replace.  Every person who grew up in Mercer and/or Auglaize Counties remembers stories from their youth, in relationship to this Lake.

“Goose Refuge State’s Best,” was the title of this record of tracing the growth of Canada Geese Flock over the Lake, by Dave LaRoche, Chief of the Grand Lake Wildlife Refuge, in “The Daily Standard,” November 30, 1964, almost six decades ago.  LaRoche stated, “There were 36 islands popular with the geese in 45 acres, and a goose nest for every .73 acre near a channel.  Hunters may hunt from It’s It Channel across to Dayton Club Island to Coldwater Creek.”  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, stated “The Canada goose management program began in 1956.”  Grand Lake, including the Waterfowl Refuge, is known in Ohio and across the Nation.  Werner Schmiesing’s article “Goose Roundup at Mercer County Waterfowl Refuge” appeared in the Arizona’s “Safari Club,” Fall 2001 issue.

Our “Lock-Down Local History Book Class,” for Week # 6 in May 2020, has been inspired by Charles C. Hunter’s photograph.  This aerial view of the Waterfowl Management Area shows a view of this Refuge that few of us have seen.  Every time I look at this photograph, I value its beauty as well as its educational value as to how the geese and the eagles and their fellow birds see this scene every dawn and dusk.

“Our Lock Down Local History Book Class” Assignment for Week # 6 is to write about your appreciation of the beauty of Grand Lake, along U.S. 127 and the Waterfowl Management Area, Division of Ohio Department of Natural Resources, near Montezuma.  Write about your memories of this area of Grand Lake.  You are most welcome to write the ODNR and thank them for preserving this area, not only for the Waterfowl, but also for the enchantment of the young eyes of future generations of our children.

Do you hear what I hear?  There should be no high-rise apartments preventing our Great Grandchildren from the pleasure of watching these wild fowl flying over head.  You might suggest to ODNR to never, ever permit any power to obstruct the view of this land between the Highway and our Lake.

[Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or histalig@bright.net  or 419-678-2614.]