Belle Isle Marsh Urban Wild, also known as DCR’s Belle Isle Reservation, protects 152 acres (of the total 241 acres) of fresh and saltwater marshland in Belle Isle Inlet. The main entrance to the Reservation sits on Bennington Street across from the Suffolk Downs MBTA Subway Station. A short road leading into the property ends at a parking lot where visitors can enter the park maintained at the site. The park is a 28-acre upland of filled marsh improved with a circuit trail, benches, observation platforms, and signage. A major portion of the park is maintained as cultural grassland to encourage migratory birds and insects.
A large freshwater marshland and swamp lies directly to the south of this park. The freshwater marsh is dominated by dense stands of common reed, Phragmitis australis, and is peppered with over 25 vernal pools. Though this marsh hosts very few plant and animal species, it does provide breeding habitat for black ducks, dragonflies, and wood wrens. A wooded swamp of mostly quaking aspen and chokecherry lies a bit further south and east of this marsh. The swamp is occasionally inundated with saltwater and hosts a variety of birds and mammals, including two coyotes.
The southern, eastern, and northern portions of Belle Isle Urban Wild are comprised of saltmarsh and mudflats. The marshes are scenic and provide permanent and migratory habitat for many birds, insects, crustaceans, and shellfish. Glossy ibis, seaside sparrows, kestrels, and saltmarsh sharptails are not uncommon sitings on the marshes. The extreme southwestern tip of Belle Isle Marshes holds Rosie’s Pond. This formally freshwater, seasonal pond is believed to be succeeding into marshland.