The mission of the Belle Isle Conservancy is to protect, preserve, restore and enhance the natural environment, historic structures and unique character of Belle Isle as a public park for the enjoyment of all – now and forever.
The Belle Isle Conservancy works in close partnership with the State of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, the City of Detroit, and island partners to bring additional resources to Belle Isle. In February of 2014 the DNR began managing Belle Isle as a state park under a 30 year lease with the City of Detroit, as part of the City’s financial restructuring. The City retains ownership of the park, and the DNR is the responsible agent for day to day operations maintaining infrastructure, removing debris, and making park improvements for all to enjoy. The Conservancy serves as an advocate for the park, brings volunteer resources to the park, operates the Belle Isle Aquarium, and actively raises funds for needed projects and improvements on the island.
The Belle Isle Conservancy’s core focus areas include:
The Belle Isle Conservancy works with the DNR and island partners to provide a direct source of information about the park, its history, current events and attractions, rentals, support opportunities, and more. Through the membership and volunteer program, the Belle Isle Conservancy enables thousands of individuals to contribute their time, talent and resources for the betterment of the park.
Planning processes and studies are a key component to drive our investment decisions. By continuing to assess the condition of the park’s physical, natural, and cultural resources, we can determine options and priorities for improvements, maintenance, and operations. The Conservancy is currently working closely with the DNR on two major planning processes – a Strategic Plan for the island and a Cultural Campus Plan for the Aquarium, Conservatory, and Dossin area. We also have an assessment underway of the condition of the Scott Fountain and the needed improvements.
In addition to operating the Belle Isle Aquarium with free admission to the public, the Belle Isle Conservancy offers educational and recreational activities to enhance the visitor experience. The Conservancy runs a field trip program for DPS and Hamtramck 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, organizes five annual fundraising events, and hosts family-friendly events like the Holiday Stroll, Belle Isle Spring Clean-Up, and Koi Festival.
The Belle Isle Conservancy raises critical funds to support the ongoing restoration and preservation of important places on the island to ensure future generations can enjoy the park’s unique environment. Sunset Point’s major renovation and the Horse Stables roof stabilization projects were done by the Belle Isle Conservancy. After being closed for seven years, the Conservancy stabilized the roof and reopened the Aquarium. The ceiling tiles have been restored, the skylights have been reopened, and the original pendant-style lighting is back. The Conservancy also is raising funds to restore the Pewabic Pottery tile mosaic that was ripped out of the Scott Fountain years ago.