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DWP Trail Corridor

Project Status:  Planning. Construction Maintenance Complete

Background Information: The city-owned, abandoned, Duluth Winnipeg, and Pacific (DWP) railroad corridor is currently used as an informal trail. The 100 ft. wide corridor (wider in some locations) runs continuously for about 10 miles from 63rd Street West to Becks Road, and eventually under I-35 to Proctor. The DWP is a very scenic route high above the river estuary and the Munger Trail with two steel trestles and a tunnel under Elys Peak. The corridor provides an excellent opportunity for a multi-use regional trail in Duluth. Significant restoration and repair is needed on the trestles, rail bed, and tunnel.  Because of the wide right-of-way, the hardened nature of the former rail bed and its gentle grade, the DWP corridor is potentially suitable for mobility limited users, biking, hiking/running, cross-country skiing, scenic slow-speed snowmobiling, equestrians, and snowshoeing.  The DWP acts as a spine for planned western Duluth trail networks, being one of the few places these user groups can traverse Magney Snively Natural Area without damaging the sensitive ecosystem.

Recently Completed Projects:

Stewart Creek Bridge: Restoration and stabilization of the former DWP railroad bridge now provides safe passage over Stewart Creek and included replacement of deteriorated decking with modern wood decking, restoration of flood damaged concrete abutments, and installation of cable railings for fall protection. Bridge restoration benefits diverse user groups and currently acts as a critical connection in the accessible DWP Trail. It also serves as a connection to the Superior Hiking Trail and the Duluth Traverse multi-use bike trail.

The Clyde Connector Trail: Construction and restoration of this trail reestablished multi-use access to the State’s Munger Trail, Skyline Parkway, Western Waterfront Trail, Superior Hiking Trail, and the Duluth Traverse, while contributing to a 9-mile equestrian trail system.

Infrastructure: Repairs included re-grading the DWP trail crossing at West Skyline to meet accessibility slope standards, repair of a large washout between Elys and Bardon Peaks, lining and replacement of culverts, installation of gates at access points, and grading and removal of vegetation from the trail surface to improve drainage and allow emergency, maintenance and construction vehicle access

Projects In Progress:

Sargent Creek Bridge Restoration: Located near the Becks Road quarry, restoration will include abutment repairs, redecking, cable railing installation, and creek channel stabilization.

Rock Removal: Rock removal from the trail surface that have fallen from the surrounding hillside, rock cuts, and tunnel will be completed on an on-going, as needed basis.

*Outstanding infrastructure needs must be fixed before the entire trail can be opened for public use.

Public Engagement Process: The recently completed construction and restoration efforts addressed critical infrastructure repairs such as culverts and washouts that had been neglected.

This planning process would go beyond critical infrastructure and address topics and concerns collected from previous planning efforts such as the Duluth Traverse Mini-Master Plan (2017), St. Louis River Corridor Trails Plan (2017), and the Trails and Bikeway Plan (2011). At this time, planning efforts will produce a publicly vetted document that will guide future usage, design, and development that goes beyond the current focus on safety and deferred maintenance. After Parks Commission approval this document will become an addendum to the current St. Louis River Corridor Trails Plan (2017). Topics and concerns collected during previous planning included:

      • trail width and surface materials
      • user conflicts and trail intersections
      • signage and wayfinding
      • parking and trail access points
      • supplemental tunnel lighting
      • separate off-grade trail for user separation
      • trail etiquette

The public engagement process aims to gather information citywide, as the DWP Corridor, once completed, will be a regionally significant trail, vetted by the community at-large. The engagement process will include:

      • Technical Advisory Group Meeting (December 6, 2018)
      • MN DNR & City Staff Meeting (December 17, 2018)
      • Public Meeting East Duluth, Portman Recreation Center (December 18, 2018)
      • Public Meeting West Duluth, Morgan Park Community Center (December 20, 2018)
      • Open Comment Period (December 2018 - January 31, 2019) - Please use form below to submit your comment
      • Parks Commission Update (February 13, 2019)
      • Parks Commission Meeting - Action Requested (March 13, 2019)
      • City Council Approval (March 25, 2019)

Important Documents:

Trails and Bikeways Plan (2011)

Update to the St. Louis River Corridor Trails Plan (2017)

Duluth Traverse Mini-Master Plan (2017)

Spirit Mountain Recreation Area Master Plan Update (2017)

Technical Advisory Group Meeting Presentation - December 6, 2018

Public Meeting East Duluth Presentation - December 18, 2018

Public Meeting West Duluth Presentation - December 20, 2018

Parks Commission Meeting Presentation - February 13, 2019

DWP Trail Technical Use and Standards Draft Plan (public comment period: 2/14/19 - 2/28/19).

DWP Trail System Technical Standards & Trail Use Recommendations Draft to Parks Commission 3/13/2019

Comment Form:

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Jim Shoberg
Senior Parks Planner
Parks and Recreation
411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 730-4316


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