Detroit August 02, 2018
There’s A Little Known Unique Wildlife Refuge In Detroit… And It’s Truly Amazing
When you conjure up images of Detroit, greenery and outdoor space might not be the first things that come to mind. After all, the Motor City is famous for all sorts of manmade wonders, from sports stadiums to Motown music. But there’s one gorgeous natural destination here in Detroit that’s often overlooked by visitors and locals alike – and you’ll certainly want to see for yourself.
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge sits along the lower Detroit River and can be accessed by visitors at 28820 E River Road in beautiful Grosse Ile.
This one-of-a-kind spot is sure to impress Detroiters and out-of-towners alike with its greenery, natural splendor, and abundance of open space to explore.
With just under 6,000 acres of land, it’s impossible to be bored when you venture to the Detroit River IWR. No matter what your age, you’ll find something to love.
This spot is especially unique in the fact that it’s the only internationally managed wildlife refuge in America, with joint ownership by the United States and Canada.
Throughout the refuge, you’ll find several distinct islands, some of which remain closed to the public. Never fear, though: there’s plenty of accessible land here.
The three primary public use sections of the Detroit River IWR are Gibraltar Bay, the Fix Unit, and the Strong Unit. From hiking to wildlife-viewing, there’s so much to do.
Birdwatchers will love it here. While waterfowl are the most commonly sighted birds - about three million migrate through the region annually and hundreds of thousands of them stop in at this refuge - you might get lucky and spot a beautiful bald eagle to two!
Gibraltar Bay, which once served as a Nike Missile site, now houses everything from wildflowers and native plants to multiple fish species.
If you’re feeling lucky, toss a line!
The Strong Unit is perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape. Enjoy the area’s greenery and wetlands, along with plenty of wet prairie land. Talk about soothing.
The Fix Unit is also open for public exploration, and there’s no telling what you’ll find in this unique area. From goldenrod to milkweed, plant life is abundant throughout, much of which is protected and maintained with the help of volunteers.
The milkweed is also a favorite for monarch butterflies, so you may see a few fluttering by if you visit in late summer to early fall when the species migrates through the region.
With its massive size, the Detroit River IWR is always growing and changing - and you’ll certainly be back for more once you discover the stunning beauty of this spot.
For more information about the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, click
Have you explored this spot in years past? We want to hear all about your experiences in the comment section below!