Starting Feb. 1, Recreation Passport needed for Belle Isle vehicle entry


Abundance of outdoor recreational activities available at Belle Isle Park
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Belle Isle


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 23, 2014

Contact: Jason Fleming, 517-284-6098, Debbie Munson-Badini906-226-1352 or Ed Golder517-284-5815

Starting Feb. 1, Recreation Passport needed for Belle Isle vehicle entry
Recreation Passport holders get year-round access to Michigan state parks

February marks the one-year anniversary of Belle Isle operating as Michigan's 102nd state park and also ends the gradual phase-in of the Recreation Passport at the island park. Beginning Sunday, Feb. 1, all vehicles entering Belle Isle will need a Recreation Passport – $11 for vehicles, $5 for motorcycles. The Recreation Passport will provide vehicle entry not only at Belle Isle, but also at other state parks throughout Michigan.

Belle Isle became a state park in February 2014 under a 30-year lease agreement between the city of Detroit and the state. The park offers an abundance of outdoor recreational activities, including fishing, hiking, biking, picnicking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, cross-country skiing, birding, golf and more.

During the past year, vehicles could access the island without a Recreation Passport until the vehicle owner's next registration renewal date. Starting Feb. 1, Belle Isle visitors driving a vehicle without the Recreation Passport will be required to purchase a window sticker at the park. This requirement applies only to vehicles – not individuals. Pedestrians, bicyclists and those using public transportation can, as always, enter the park for free.

"The gradual introduction of the Recreation Passport during the past year mirrored the initial introduction of the Recreation Passport at all Michigan state parks back in 2010," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. "We wanted to employ the same soft transition at Belle Isle. When the first full year of state management has cycled – in February – all vehicles will need the Recreation Passport for entry to the park."

Passport to statewide outdoor recreation
Belle Isle is one of hundreds of recreational opportunities available to residents and visitors through the Recreation Passport, which grants vehicle entry to Michigan state parks and recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, boat launch parking and nonmotorized trail head parking.

"Purchasing the Recreation Passport not only gives visitors vehicle access to the island," Olson added. "It also gets them into many other state parks in the Detroit area and across Michigan."

State parks and recreation areas in the Detroit area include Bald Mountain Recreation Area, Dodge 4 State Park, Highland Recreation Area, Island Lake Recreation Area, Maybury State Park, Milliken State Park and Harbor (no Recreation Passport required), Proud Lake Recreation Area and Sterling State Park.

Shelter reservations update
Also beginning in February, all visitors (and their guests) who rent Belle Isle picnic shelters, facilities and green spaces must have a Recreation Passport for vehicle access to the island. This includes smaller, private events such as weddings, reunions and birthday parties. During the transition to state management, waivers were given to visitors who reserved events through the city of Detroit prior to 2014.

All Belle Isle shelter reservations are now taken through the DNR's Central Reservation System and can be made up to one year in advance. Reservations can be made online at www.midnrreservations.com or by calling 1-800-44-PARKS.

"We worked hard to make Belle Isle's transition to a state park as seamless as possible," said Jason Fleming, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division's resource management section. "Visitors making reservations for 2015 are being informed of the Recreation Passport requirement and are given the chance to ask questions and purchase the Passport.  The best value is to purchase it when you renew your registration. Eleven dollars for a full year of access comes out to three cents a day. Purchase of the Recreation Passport provides a great opportunity to enjoy Belle Isle while supporting state and neighborhood parks."

Recreation Passport purchase, pricing and benefits
Ten percent of Recreation Passport revenue is available to neighborhood parks through the Recreation Passport community grants program. In fact, just a few years ago the city of Detroit received a $30,000 grant to fund improvements at Lorwyn E. Peterson Playfield. Recreation Passport grant application materials and eligibility information are available at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.

The Recreation Passport is available for purchase through the Secretary of State during license plate registration renewal (just check "YES" on the renewal form) and is valid for state park entry until the next registration renewal date. Residents who purchase the Recreation Passport through the Secretary of State get entry to state parks for a full year, as well as access to the Passport Perks retail discount program.

The Recreation Passport also can be purchased as a window sticker at Michigan state parks and recreation areas, including Belle Isle. Visitors to the island park can purchase the Passport between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily at the White House (administrative building), located on Inselruhe Avenue across from the Belle Isle Aquarium. When purchased at a park, the Recreation Passport is valid until the holder's next license plate registration renewal date.

The Recreation Passport is $11 for Michigan-registered vehicles, $5 for motorcycles and $16.10 for buses. Vehicles not registered in Michigan will require a $30.50 nonresident Recreation Passport for entry. This can be purchased at the park or online by visiting www.michigan.gov/estore and clicking on State Park Recreation Passport in the left-hand menu.

Learn more about the Recreation Passport – a creative way to sustain Michigan's state parks and outdoor recreation opportunities – at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport. Learn more about Belle Isle – including the events calendar, partnerships, vendor information and frequently asked questions – at www.BelleIslePark.org.

Follow us on Twitter @MichiganDNR and @BelleIsle_Park. We encourage Belle Isle partners and others interested in the park's revitalization to use the hashtag #AllinforBelleIsle


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.

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