Parks & Recreation

Brighton Beach


Project Status: Pre-Bid

Project Overview:

The City is reopening the Council-approved Brighton Beach 2012 Mini-Master Plan to make appropriate changes that adopt more resilient measures in the face of climate change. The 2012 Plan called for the reconfiguration of road, trail, parking and green space improvements; however, starting in 2017 significant shoreline erosion has necessitated the study of modifying the location of the road and trail further from the shoreline.

From its inception, Brighton Beach served recreation. The land for the park was purchased in 1922 as a campground to provide auto tourists with access to Lake Superior: hence the primary access to the park is a motor vehicle road. Brighton Beach was then, and remains, one of the top Duluth recreational destinations. Mid-summer user counts reflect an average of 400 bicyclists, 975 pedestrians and 278 vehicles per day and occur exclusively by those wishing to access Lake Superior or park facilities. Park amenities include a pavilion and historical fireplace building, picnic tables and grills, benches, and wide smooth beaches for canoe kayak and other paddleboard launching. Popular activities include outdoor yoga, worship, public meetings, weddings, family reunions, school groups, recreational instruction and the like. Attendance for these special events is close to 3,000 persons annually.

In 2015, the City was awarded a Federal Transportation Alternatives grant to support the final segment of the Lakewalk to be built in 2020.  The motor vehicle lane is currently the only route within the boundaries of the park and serves conflicting modes of transportation, including motorists, bicyclists, in-line skaters, and pedestrians with small children and dog walkers all trying to access Lake Superior. There is no designated pathway for users to exit the roadway and access the water, creating a free-for-all mix of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. Determining the final alignment of the trail is necessary to move the project to design in the winter of 2019, and construction in 2020.

In addition, a network of informal parking areas and trails exacerbates the dangerous mix of users as well as creates informal routes to the lakeshore which are unstable, not accessible, and erode the banks. Re-opening the Mini-Master Plan will address the follow goals:

  1. Reduce City infrastructure within the DNR 10 ft. wave zone of the shoreline
  2. Increase circulation safety for all parks users – vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian.
  3. Increase shoreline resiliency by formalizing trails, access points and parking area to minimize shoreline erosion.
  4. Provide high quality experience for recreational access to the lake and adjacent green space.

Project Update:

Construction of trail is slated to start in late summer/early fall 2020 and is expected to be completed in 2021. 


  • Public Open House: June 3
  • May 18 – June 7th Online survey
  • June 12th: 5 PM Parks & Recreation Commission Informational Presentation
  • June 13 – 26th Public Comment Period
  • July 10 Final draft presentation to Commission and request for approval
  • August City Council