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Cruising Down the Black River in Lorain County


By Amanda Williams

Posted On: Oct 17, 2014

For the past eight years, nature lovers have had the chance to learn a little more about the history and wildlife of the Black River in Lorain County by boat.

The tours – conducted in a small shuttle boat owned by the Lorain Port Authority – operate during the summer and early autumn. They offer river cruises, sunset cruises, and fall foliage cruises from Black River Landing in downtown Lorain.

And, being a sucker for fall colors in Ohio, I decided that a fall foliage tour would be perfect for this time of year.

Arriving at Black River Landing (a former brownfield that has since been transformed into an attractive festival ground), we all climbed into the boat and met our captain, Tom. Tom also acted as a guide and historian throughout the hour-long trip, pointing out everything from bridges and old mills to blue heron nests up in the trees.

October is a great time of year for this cruise, since the trees are in full color – meaning even if it’s cloudy, there’s still plenty to catch your eye.

We sailed under a couple of bridges first, Tom telling us a little about Lorain’s history. The Black River used to be home to shipyards –most notably ones owned by the American Shipbuilding Company, which built ships in Lorain for nearly 100 years. The company was notably run for a while by George Steinbrenner, who most people know now as the owner of the New York Yankees.

As we left the ships and factories behind, Tom began pointing out some of the wildlife to us – herons and cormorants and even a few bald eagles. The cormorants – water birds that flock together – are actually considered a pest, we learned. But they sure looked cool dotting all the treetops.

The star of this cruise was definitely the trees, though. Yellows and oranges and pops of red greeted us around every corner.

There are still two fall foliage cruises running this autumn. There’s one at 2:30 pm on October 18, and another at 5:30 pm on October 22. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children.

You can also check out the calendar of events at Black River Landing to get a taste of what’s upcoming in 2015.

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