Workers clear large trees from the island on December 10. (Steve Perez / The Detroit News)
Lansing ó Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh said Thursday the department is working on allowing residents from southeast Michigan to come onto Belle Isle and cut up dead trees for firewood.
The department recently cut down several trees on the island in preparation for making it a state park. Creagh talked about the firewood initiative Thursday during a hearing before the House Appropriations subcommittee that handles the DNRís budget.
With this yearís harsh winter, Creagh suggested there may be a need for more firewood for people who burn wood to heat their homes in southeast Michigan.
Belle Isle became Michiganís 102nd state park this week when the state Department of Natural Resources began running the island park.
The state takeover is expected to save the city up to $6 million a year and infuse tens of millions of dollars in clean up and upgrades.
Access to the 982-acre island has been free and will remain so for pedestrians.
But the state plans to begin phasing in a requirement that vehicle drivers have an annual recreation passport indication on their license plate to enter the park.
The passport costs $11 for vehicles and $5 for motorcycles and can be bought when drivers renew their license plate registration through the Secretary of State or at the park, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
The passport also allows drivers to enter any state park or recreation area.