Scott Fountain Detroit

Today is a big day in Detroit history. Belle Isle has officially become Michigan’s 102nd state park.

For the next 30 years, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will manage the island with the goal of the same high standards as the other 101 state parks around the state.

The One-Time Entrance Fee Is Good For Every State Park

Belle Isle State Park will be subject to same annual $11, one-time  fee for state park entrance. The charge will be introduced over the coming year and people can pay for the pass when they get their license plate renewal registration. The fee grants the purchaser access to all of Michigan’s state parks, state forest campgrounds and boat launches. People who choose to walk or bike across the bridge will not be charged.

Once the Recreation Passport has been purchased there are other great metro area parks you can access with the pass. Bald Mountain Recreation AreaDodge #4 State ParkHighland Recreation AreaIsland Lake Recreation AreaMaybury State Park,Milliken State ParkProud Lake Recreation Area and Sterling State Park – all not far from Detroit.

Bookings and Event Prices Stay The Same

Belle Isle is a huge party spot. Family reunions, birthday parties, clubs, teams all get together on the island in the warmer months to have a good time. Under the new agreement those revelers will see no change to the island’s current event-reservation procedure and price structure, the department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced last Friday. Any event protocols for 2015 will be announced later this year, and all events already scheduled through the Detroit Recreation Department will proceed as scheduled.

“The DNR will continue the reservation process for 2014, as the Detroit Recreation Department has for several years,” said Alicia Minter, Detroit Recreation Department Director and Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee member. “Our department worked to improve the process and made changes to meet the needs of our patrons. The DNR will be building upon that progress to make improvements for the future.”

For any event booked on or prior to Dec. 17, 2013 the Recreation Passport will not be required.

“During the transition period, we are focusing on a seamless transfer of the management of Belle Isle Park to the state,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “The Detroit Recreation Department has greatly aided us during the transition, leading to a smooth transfer of events reservations and information.”

Visitors can make event reservations using the following procedures:

  • Contact Milliken State Park and Harbor staff at 313-396-0217.
  • Deposits can be paid on or after Feb. 10. (Deposits will not be taken before that date.) In-person cash deposits are now accepted in addition to certified check or money order. Personal checks are not accepted.
  • Deposits can be paid in-person at Milliken State Park and Harbor, 1900 Atwater Drive, Detroit, MI 48207 or mailed to the same address.

For more information you can go to

How To Be A Contractor And Do Work With The Park

If you’re looking to do work with the park you should check out the event this Friday, February 14th, at the Belle Isle Casino. The DNR, The Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and the D2D program of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) will be hosting half day seminars for contractors interested in working on Belle Isle in the coming year. More on that here.

Hopefully the transition to a Michigan state park is seamless, smooth and brings improvements to the park as well as saves the city millions annually. We’ll be watching this, for sure.