#FindYourPark: Islands of Peace

 
Photo credit:  NPS/Gordon Dietzman

Photo credit: NPS/Gordon Dietzman

The park's three islands spotlight a mature forest of maple-basswood trees. The wide walking bridge leads from the shoreline to Chase Island but the other two islands -- Durnham and Gil Hodges -- are accessible only by water. Durnham Island, which is the largest of the three islands is straight west of Chase Island and can be seen across the channel. The third island, Gil Hodges, is the farthest upstream island. ( Source )

The park's three islands spotlight a mature forest of maple-basswood trees. The wide walking bridge leads from the shoreline to Chase Island but the other two islands -- Durnham and Gil Hodges -- are accessible only by water. Durnham Island, which is the largest of the three islands is straight west of Chase Island and can be seen across the channel. The third island, Gil Hodges, is the farthest upstream island. (Source)

There are three islands in the Mississippi River between Fridley and Brooklyn Center, known collectively since 1971 as the Islands of Peace. Durnham Island is the largest one and is accessible by boat. Gil Hodges Island is also accessible by boat. Chase Island is the only island accessible by bridge.* The park is owned and operated by Anoka County Parks and Recreation.

The Islands of Peace were one of the first wheelchair-accessible parks in the Twin Cities. The trailhead is marked by a rustic sign that outlines Edward T. Wilmes’ expansive credo for the park: “where peace is a way of life every hour of every day for all those willing to share the experience.” Also prominently placed on the sign are two International Symbols of Access – the familiar wheelchair figure adopted internationally in 1969, just a few years before the park opened. The terraced, switchbacked slope from the trailhead to the bridge crossing the river onto Chase Island makes the park wheelchair-accessible. In the years before the Americans with Disabilities Act, such accessibility in parks and nature sites was still very uncommon.

*Text in italics edited for clarity and accuracy.