You'll need a recreation pass to drive onto Belle Isle starting Feb. 1

Jan 2, 2015 at 11:01 am
Since Belle Isle became Michigan's 102nd state park in February of last year, concerns have been raised about the multijurisdictional police force that patrols the island now that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources took over its management. Even with noticeable improvements, the beefed up patrols have had a chilling effect of sorts on visitors. 

But many opponents of the deal to lease Belle Isle to the state for at least 30 years took issue with another aspect of the plan: Motorists would need to have a $11 annual recreation passport to enter the island. As MT's Jack Lessenberry noted back in 2012 when the lease was initially floated, "This may anger poor Detroiters, who feel they can't afford a pass for Belle Isle and shouldn't have to pay to enter." 

Throughout 2014, motorists could enter the island without a recreational pass until their next vehicle registration renewal date. But starting Feb. 1, visitors will need to purchase a recreational pass at Belle Isle, if they don't already have one.  

The state says a recreational pass can be purchased at Belle Isle at the island's administration building across from the Belle Isle Aquarium. The pass is valid until the motorist's next license plate registration renewal date, the state says. The passes cost $11 for vehicles, $5 for motorcyclists, and $16 for buses. Pedestrians and bicyclists can still access the island for free. 

If you have some downtime today: Back in 2004, MT spent 48 hours on Belle Isle, which resulted in a lengthy cover piece you can find here