Parks & Recreation

Duluth Natural Areas Programs

Program Overview:

Duluth Natural Areas Program Brochure

The Duluth Natural Areas Program (DNAP) was created and adopted by ordinance in 2002 to protect and preserve Duluth's natural heritage for the public good. It was established because the City and other governmental entities own a large number of tracts of real estate, some of which are of environmental significance in the community. We are vested in may of these areas and often believe these special places will always be there. The titles to these lands don't include long lasting security for natural resource protection, nor are they necessarily all owned by the City. This local program is designed to help us better protect and manage these remaining relatively undisturbed natural areas to ensure the services and values they provide (e.g., habitat diversity, water quality, flood retention, and a sense of places for us all) are preserved now and into the future from sale and development.

A link to the ordinance and the guidelines for implementing the ordinance are provided below under important documents. The City is committed to preserving in perpetuity public lands as determined in accordance with the criteria and to offer the opportunity for voluntary preservation of similar lands owned by others. These criteria include plant and animal communities, habitat for special species, natural water features, important bird habitat areas, and geologic landforms.

To date, Magney Snively is the only Duluth Natural Area. It consists of approximately 1,800 acres of eleven different high quality native plant communities, one of which is the largest known Sugar Maple-Basswood forest in the area.

St. Louis River Corridor Program Nomination:

The City in partnership with the MN Land Trust is in the process of collecting plant community and bird survey data and reviewing several parcels of land across the St. Louis River Corridor to evaluate lands that meet the intention of the DNAP. From there, a nomination report will be drafted for the public process.

 The public process schedule for this nomination is as follows:

  • Stakeholder meeting and open house - January or February 2019
  • Parks and Recreation Commission Presentation -February or March 2019
  • Parks and Recreation Commission Action Requested - March or April 2019
  • Planning Commission Action Requested - April or May 2019
  • City Council Action Requested - June 2019

Hartley Program Nomination: 

The City in partnership with Hartley Nature Center is currently in the process of nominating approximately 620 acres of Hartley Park as a Duluth Natural Area. These lands include one of the largest northern hardwood forests and wet meadows in the City. The park also has a long history of education and recreational activity related to the enjoyment, preservation and restoration of the natural environment

 The public process schedule for this nomination is as follows:

  • Stakeholder meeting and public open house - June 28, 2018
  • Parks and Recreation Commission Presentation - July 11, 2018
  • Parks and Recreation Commission Action Requested - August 8, 2018
  • Planning Commission Action Requested - September 11, 2018
  • City Council Action Requested - September 24, 2018