IBT Art InstallationThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources is partnering with Detroit artists and brothers Erik and Israel Nordin, the Michigan Fitness Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to design a public art sculpture that will become a signature landmark at the trailhead for the Iron Belle Trail – Michigan’s showcase trail – located in Belle Isle in Detroit.

The DNR Parks and Recreation Division will host a public engagement session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Detroit Design Center, 4225 Third St., Detroit. The public is invited to provide input for the sculpture design and join in a conversation about what this trailhead might represent to trail adventurers from near and far. Comments can also be sent to Amanda Treadwell, urban-area field planner with the DNR.

To RSVP for the event, and to give your input on the art installation, got to https://app.mobilecause.com/form/lXMn9A?vid=2ux1c to fill out a survey.


The Nov. 12 meeting also will be an opportunity for the community to learn more about the Iron Belle Trail and how it traverses cities, towns and woodlands, from Belle Isle all the way to Ironwood in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula. In addition, a Metro Detroit resident will share a firsthand account of his 900-mile bike ride along the Iron Belle Trail.

The Nordin brothers, co-owners of the Detroit Design Center, have been commissioned to design a public sculptural element that will mark the southernmost point of the Iron Belle Trail.

The Iron Belle Trail is the longest state-designated trail in the nation. The 2,000-mile trail includes two distinct routes, one for hiking and one for biking. Currently, it is about 71 percent connected.


In 2016, a trails master plan outlined the future of trails for Belle Isle. Through stakeholder and public engagement, the plan identified a new 6-mile loop around the park, a trail system within Belle Isle’s unique woodland resources and a new trailhead to serve as the southern gateway for the Iron Belle trail.

Work on the trailhead began this past summer. Phase 1 included construction of the underground utilities for amenities that will be part of phase 2, which includes parking lot paving and a rain garden to manage on-site stormwater. The DNR expects to break ground on phase 2 projects in summer 2020.

For more information about the trailhead meeting or the projects at Belle Isle, contact Amanda Treadwell at 313-264-6359 or TreadwellA@Michigan.gov.

Frank Wladyslawski covers sports from the Downriver and Dearborn areas for The News Herald and the Press and Guide. 

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