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Podcast: Preserving Belle Isle, Detroit's Natural Jewel

Belle Isle holds fond memories for generations of Detroiters. Old timers tell stories of fishing and swimming in the island park's waters. Younger folk tell of the nights spend cruising around its perimeter. It is an environmentally important part of the city's landscape and a unique place in America's municipal recreation spaces.

But with hard times hitting Detroit, volunteers like Mebby Pearson and the Friends of Belle Isle find it challenging to keep up the forests and canals that are an integral part of it. She spoke with TIME about what Belle Isle is and what it faces.

Click "play" below.

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  • 1


    It does need more weeping willows just as Grosse Ile does.

    Nothing quite like the wind rustling the willows and that sweet air near them.

    If the Huron Clinton Metro Park system needs to charge a fee, Belle Isle should to.

    After all we now pay for drinking water and that was a laughable proposition at one time.

    A buck a car probably would be a fantastic help.

    The Oldest Boat Club in America needs help too.


  • 2

    It's not necessary and not advisable to always charge a fee for access to the island in the absence of congestion. Any fee might discourage some from visiting the island. A better approach is to charge a fee at times when the island is likely to be congested. That would be on summer weekends and holidays. Young adults driving and showing off their $50,000 Cadillac Escalades and other vehicles and trying to impress members of the opposite sex can afford $5 out of pocket for access to the island on warm summer nights. It's called congestion pricing. The island would be less crowded and more pleasant on those days if a $5 fee discouraged bumper to bumper traffic.

  • 3

    The Detroit Boat Club would be alive and well today if it had not been for the Ultra Racist shakedown artist Coleman Young. Just one more example of how he totally ruined the City Of Detroit and everything in it that his hands touched.

  • 4

    [...] I get to show Bell-Isle fans in Detroit our free suite of tools that give them a leg up and help them connect to their customers and help people find local businesses that they feel passionate about the Lions football [...]

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