DNR to host open house Wednesday to discuss Iron Belle Trail loop on Belle Isle

Contact: Amanda Treadwell, 313-396-6872
Agency: Natural Resources

June 21, 2018

The public is invited to an open house on Belle Isle Wednesday, June 27, to discuss plans for a new, 6-mile loop of the Iron Belle Trail on the island park in Detroit. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Flynn Pavilion, located on Loiter Way.

Plans call for a new, 10-foot wide, paved, multiuse trail that creates the hiking route of the Iron Belle Trail as a dedicated trail of its own. The trail design is expected to be completed in September 2018 and the first phase of construction to begin in 2019.  First-phase construction will be funded with a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant awarded to the DNR in 2017 from the National Park Service.

Key project elements of the trail will include:

  • Trail alignment between the island’s main loop drive and the Detroit River.
  • Distance markers.
  • Boardwalk along the water’s edge where space is not sufficient for a paved trail.
  • Defined crosswalks at key points to connect to interior island trails.
  • Existing bike lane to remain on left side of road for high-speed cyclists.
  • Project coordination with the Lake Okonoka Restoration project.

Engineering of the trail will finalize the conceptual loop trail developed in the 2016 Belle Isle Master Plan. The trail design will coordinate with related ongoing projects that include the Southern Terminus Iron Belle Trailhead, which will be under construction this summer at the Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse parking lot; the trail layout within the wet-mesic flatwoods now under development, and the design to complete a trail around Blue Heron Lagoon that currently ends at the golf course.  

The Iron Belle Trail is a statewide trail encompassing more than 2,000 miles of Michigan on hiking and biking routes, allowing users to explore pristine forests and cool rivers while connecting big cities to smaller and diverse towns. The hiking trail extends south and west from Belle Isle, connecting with the North Country National Scenic Trail in Battle Creek, and then progresses north to Mackinac City and across the Upper Peninsula to Ironwood. The biking portion extends north from Belle Isle, through Flint and into Alpena, then north to Mackinac City where it mainly follows U.S. Route 2 into Ironwood.

The trail is about 68 percent completed, with several development and construction projects currently under way.

Learn more about the state’s trail offerings on the DNR website michigan.gov/dnrtrails

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.