Mr. John N. Magee
Mr. John N. Magee

In 1903, John N. Magee, of Elmore, Ohio acquired 1,000 acres of marshland belonging to the Crane Creek Shooting Club and 1,700 acres from the Cleveland Hunting Club. Today, this comprises part of the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Mr. Magee's original intent was to dike off and drain the marsh utilizing it's fertile soil for agricultural purposes. However, after several years of high lake levels, farming this area became impossible. After realizing the habitat was ideal for waterfowl and fur bearers, he allowed it to revert back to marshland for muskrat trapping and waterfowl hunting.

During the 1920's through 1940, Magee Marsh was leased to an exclusive hunting group of ten men from Detroit for duck hunting. After Mr. Magee's death in 1925, his two daughters, Julia and Ruth continued to supervise the 2,700 acres of marsh.

In 1940, the Magee family sold their beloved marshland to a private hunting club known as the Magee Marsh Hunt Club. Damage to dikes and channels caused by continued high lake levels made maintenance very costly for the hunting club.

Punter's Party
Punter's Party


In 1951 the Ohio Department of Natural Resources purchased 1,821 acres. This land was divided between Division of Wildlife (1171 acres) and the Division of Parks and Recreation (650 acres).

The Division of Wildlife created a public hunting area, the "Magee Marsh Wildlife Area". The Division of Parks and Recreation created the "Crane Creek State Park" and in 1955 allowed swimming on a portion of the beach.

Jack and Ralph Boyd
Jack and Ralph Boyd

Up until the middle of 2008, the State Park then reduced to 79 acres was still in operation.
On June 1, 2008 Parks and Recreation closed the Crane Creek State Park and transferred the remaining land to the Division of Wildlife adding to the size of the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area.

Today, Magee Marsh is one of the few remaining wetland complexes on the Lake Erie shoreline. What was the state park beach area is reverting to wildlife beach with a new section of beach trail marked.