Parks & Recreation

Essential Spaces: Duluth Parks, Recreation, Open Space & Trails Plan


Project Status: Planning

Project Overview:

Click here to take our Duluth Parks & Recreation Master Plan Survey - Open to All

The Parks and Recreation Department is embarking on the creation of "Essential Spaces: Duluth Parks, Recreation, Open Space & Trails Plan", a city-wide parks system Master Plan. The City last conducted a master planning of its parks system in 2010. Much has changed since this time, including many new and enhanced parks, trails, and programming offerings. Yet, opportunities to improve still remain. Essential Spaces will serve as a long-range planning document to guide the Department in the development and prioritization of programs, facilities, parks, and natural lands that serve the Duluth community now and into the future. This master planning effort will take a fresh look at the parks system and, with multiple opportunities for community outreach and engagement, will reflect the community’s values and guiding principles.

Project Update:

After issuing a request for proposals, Design Workshop was selected as the lead consultant team to help us through this expected 12-month process. We have established a Project Advisory Committee, made up of staff and citizen representatives, to guide the process along with our consultant team.

Community engagement is an important aspect of developing the Essential Spaces plan to understand the needs, values and anticipated future demands of Duluth’s residents and park system users. The first step of the master planning process was hosting a series of focus group meetings with select stakeholders, comprised of recreation partners, subject matter experts, and citizens representing a spectrum of experience and areas of interest. Our next step is to conduct a community-wide survey on citizen needs and values as they relate to our parks system. 


  • Project Kick-off: July 2021
  • Focus Group Meetings: August 2021
  • Taking Stock of Existing Conditions: August 2021 – November 2021
  • Analyzing Duluth’s System: August 2021 -December 2021
  • Creating a Shared Vision: September 2021 - February 2022
  • Evaluating Concepts and Developing Recommendations: December 2021 - April 2022
  • Plan Documentation and Preparation: March 2022 – June 2022
  • Master Plan Adoption by City Council: June 2022

Important Documents:

2010 Master Plan