A 6-mile, multi-use loop trail around Belle Isle will be installed beginning in 2019 following the procurement of $750,000 in federal funding. The trail will begin and end at the Livingston Lighthouse, pictured.

A 6-mile, multi-use loop trail around Belle Isle will be installed beginning in 2019 following the procurement of $750,000 in federal funding. The trail will begin and end at the Livingston Lighthouse, pictured.

Photo provided by Amanda Treadwell


Federal grant to support development of trail loop on Belle Isle

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published April 13, 2018

DETROIT — On March 13, U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters announced $750,000 in federal funding, which will be matched by private investments, to develop a 6-mile, multi-use loop trail around Belle Isle Park. 

The funding will be provided by the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund State and Local Assistance Program, which distributes matching grants for local and state park projects outside of national park boundaries.

“It will provide for additional trail recreation and allow for families and children to safely bicycle and walk around the island, explained Amanda Treadwell, an urban area planner for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “This multi-use trail will allow them to have a path separated from motorized vehicles, creating a safer location for them.”

The trail will go around the perimeter of the island. It will begin with a trailhead at the historic Livingston Lighthouse.

“The new trailhead at the Livingston Lighthouse will have additions to the existing parking lot there,” said Treadwell. “It will contain restrooms, eating areas, bike repair stations, and water fountains. It also will connect to the lighthouse trails which already exist there.”

The Belle Isle trail loop also will serve as the southern terminus for the Iron Belle Trail, a state trail currently in development that will run from Detroit to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula.

“The new trailhead will serve to connect Belle Isle to the Iron Belle Trail, which the other trailhead is in Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula,” Treadwell explained. “It is a 2,000-mile hiking trail from Detroit to Iron Mountain, and 60 percent of the route is complete at this point.”

Funding for the project will include the money coming from the federal government and matched by the state using money from several grants.

“We have the $750,000 coming from the federal government and a match of $750,000 with other grants to fund development on the island,” Treadwell said. “These grants include Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Coastal Zone Management Grant and other recreation fund grants. An additional $480,000 is also coming from federal and state grants.”

The design of the trail is currently being done, and construction of the first phase of the trail will begin in early 2019.

“Design of the trail will be done by (outdoor design and development firm) Edgewater Resources, and they will be finishing up the designs for the trail in September,” said Treadwell. “We will have a community input session this summer for the public to take part in. People can find updates on the DNR’s website (www.michigan.gov/dnr). The installation work for the trail will be done by contractors selected by bid. Construction on the first phase of the trail should begin next spring.”

Several Michigan politicians have shown their support for the project, and they explained why they think this will be a benefit to Belle Isle, Detroit and Michigan as a whole.

“Belle Isle is a crown jewel in the city of Detroit.” Stabenow said in a press release. “It’s exciting to see how this and other investments are making Belle Isle an even better destination for families in the city and across the region.”

 “Belle Isle gives families the opportunity to explore Michigan’s history and natural beauty on the international waters of the Detroit River,” Peters added in the same press release. “Thanks to this funding, the jewel of Detroit — Belle Isle — can continue to make upgrades to existing facilities, giving area families a vibrant state park and boosting the economy by attracting new visitors from around the country.”

Treadwell said the project should mean new opportunities for many people visiting Belle Isle.

“It will be a great opportunity for the community to come out and see Belle Isle and will provide a lot of opportunities for healthy recreation among the many historically significant buildings and educational facility on the island,” she remarked. “It should create some wonderful experiences for families.”