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DWP Trail Corridor

Project Status:  Public Engagement Process. 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 several stone, steel, and wooden 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, 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 will 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 to restrict access to walkers and bikers in the summer, 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. The project is partially funded at this time.

Proactive 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.

Construction Schedule: 

Stewart Creek Bridge: Construction is underway and will be complete June 30, 2018.

Clyde Connector Trail: Construction is underway and will be complete June 30, 2018.

Infrastructure Repairs: Infrastructure improvements will begin in spring 2018 and will be complete by November 2018.

*Outstanding infrastructure needs must be fixed before the 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 (2016), 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.

Topics and concerns collected during previous planning efforts include, but are not limited to:

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

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

  • Two public meetings (late 2018)
  • Two stakeholder engagement meetings (late 2018)
  • Smart Survey (restricts response by IP and email)
  • Open Comment Period (between public meeting sessions)

Important Documents:

Public Meeting Presentation 9.17.17

Public Meeting Presentation 4.5.18

St. Louis River Corridor Trails Plan



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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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