Belle Isle Is Now Officially A State Park

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Belle Isle bridge. (Credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ)

Belle Isle bridge. (Credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – As of today, Belle Isle is officially a state park. The state will run the park as part of a 30-year lease from the city of Detroit.

The change means people who go to the park will be subject to the $11 annual park fee per vehicle. The fee is being phased in over the next year.

“This gradual introduction mirrors the initial 2010 introduction of the Recreation Passport at all Michigan state parks,” said Ron Olson, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) chief of the Parks and Recreation Division. “The Recreation Passport was legislatively established as a much-needed funding source for state park infrastructure improvements since no taxpayer dollars go to funding Michigan’s existing state parks. Many of the state’s best and most priceless natural resources are housed and protected within these state parks. Purchasing a Recreation Passport for every vehicle every year, whether or not a citizen even visits state parks, is vital to protecting Michigan’s natural resources for future generations.”

WWJ Photo/S.L. Stoddart

WWJ Photo/S.L. Stoddart

In addition to offering access to Belle Isle, the $11 Recreation Passport provides access to all Michigan state parks and recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and boat launch and trail parking for a typical 12-month period when purchased through the Secretary of State during license plate registration renewal.

Detroit is expected to save up to $6 million a year by having the state run Belle Isle.

Under the 30-year lease agreement, which was imposed last year by state-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Detroit will maintain ownership of Belle Isle while the DNR assumes responsibility for managing the park and the Michigan Department of Transportation takes responsibility for the roads and bridges. The lease provides for an initial 30-year term with two 15-year renewals.

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