Sugar Island (Detroit River)

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This article is about a small island near Detroit. For a large island on the Michigan upper peninsula, see Sugar Island (Michigan). For other uses, see Sugar Island.
Sugar Island
Sugar Island is located in Michigan
Sugar Island
Sugar Island
Location Detroit River
Coordinates 42°05′29″N 83°08′39″W / 42.09139°N 83.14417°W / 42.09139; -83.14417Coordinates: 42°05′29″N 83°08′39″W / 42.09139°N 83.14417°W / 42.09139; -83.14417
Area 30 acres (12 ha)
State Michigan
County Wayne County
Township Grosse Ile Township
Population Uninhabited

Sugar Island is a small island in the Detroit River between Grosse Ile and Boblo Island. Sugar Island is part of Grosse Ile Township, Wayne County, Michigan, United States, and lies about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) west of the border with Canada. Currently the island is uninhabited and was recently converted to wildlife refuge by the US Fish and Wildlife service (see below). The majority of the island is wooded and it is known for its white sandy beaches and easy access by boat.

In the early part of the 20th century (c. 1900-1940), Sugar Island was the site of a resort park and large dance pavilion.[1] Access to the island was by steam ferry, including the SS Tashmoo. Tashmoo met her fate on the night of June 18, 1936 while departing Sugar Island she struck a rock. She was able to land her passengers in Amherstburg, Ontario before sinking.[2]

For many years Sugar island was held in private ownership with plans to build a bridge and residential housing on the island. There were objections to this plan, mainly by environmental groups, as the island is a resting point for many species of migratory birds. The island was recently purchased by the US Fish and Wildlife service for $434,100 and will be made into a wildlife refuge. While the conversion of the island to refuge status is heralded by environmentalists and concerned citizens. However, there is a large population of boaters who will no longer be able to use the island as a weekend gathering space for sunbathing and partying. The island will still be accessible to hunters with in-season permits, as well as educational groups and researchers.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sugar Island Park, Sugar Island Michigan". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  2. ^ "The SS Tashmoo and her date with doom". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  3. ^ "Soon, Downriver party hotspot will be off-limits to boaters". Retrieved 2012-04-30.