Boat Dock & Fishing Pier


Located at the Refuge Gateway, the new boat dock and fishing pier will provide accessible, shore-based fishing opportunities on the Detroit River for visitors of all ages.

  • World Class Fishing Opportunities


    Construction of a boat dock for the Great Lakes school ship and world-class fishing pier is on the horizon at the Refuge Gateway.

    As the future site of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (DRIWR), the Refuge Gateway will welcome and educate hundreds of thousands of projected annual visitors to the DRIWR and the region’s natural resources. Plans include a boardwalk extending 775 feet into the deep waters of the Detroit River with a width of 15 feet, a floating dock for the Michigan Sea Grant School Ship 100 feet long by 15 feet wide, and a fishing pier 225 feet long and 15 feet wide, able to accommodate up to 100 fishermen at once! It will be free to the public and anglers of all skill levels.

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  • Education & Outreach


    Planned educational programming by the many project partners bolsters the high activity expected at the site. Michigan Sea Grant Extension plans to base its school ship here to provide vessel-based education on the Detroit River and Lake Erie, and local fishing organizations have expressed interest in hosting fishing tournaments. The facility will be a core component of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge's interpretive program and will facilitate hands-on learning activities that focus on adjacent river shoreline restoration, wildlife conservation, and sustainability of the Detroit River region.

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  • Accessibility & Amenities


    The design includes a boardwalk, fishing pier, floating dock, seating areas, shade pavilions, and interpretive signage. Shallow waters rich with panfish will provide an opportunity for youth and family fishing and the deep water access will allow walleye fishing for the more experienced fisherman. Everyone will be offered a world-class shore fishing experience for a trophy walleye without the need for a boat.

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  • Get Involved Today


    The project has considerable support for this $2.85 million investment in our community: $600,000 from The Great Lakes Fisheries Trust, $500,000 Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund, $500,000 from Wayne County and now $200,000 from CN, North America's Railroad, totaling $2 million raised to date and just under $1 million more needed to begin construction. Some funds raised to date are in challenge grants, requiring the additional $1 million to be committed in the near future. 

    As enthusiasm for the project continues to build, the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance (IWRA) is asking for your support. Many of our local community neighbors and businesses have already made contributions to the project, and if you, your family or business would like to partner in this transformation of the once industrial brownfield site into a stage for exceptional, close-to-home, outdoor recreation and environmental education, we encourage you to contact IWRA for additional information. 

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