DWP Trail Corridor
Project Status: Complete
The city-owned, formerly abandoned, Duluth Winnipeg, and Pacific (DWP) railroad trail is a roughly 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 Ely's Peak. The corridor provides an excellent opportunity for a multi-use regional trail in Duluth. Significant restoration and repair was performed 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, 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.
Infrastructure repairs included re-grading the DWP trail crossing at West Skyline to meet accessibility slope standards, repair of a large washout between Ely's and Bardon Peaks, lining and replacement of culverts, installation of gates at access points, installation of signage and wayfinding maps, and grading and removal of vegetation from the trail surface to improve drainage and allow emergency, maintenance and construction vehicle access.
DWP trail improvements have been funded, in part, through grants administered by the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). Final reporting has been completed for both grants and they are now closed.
In 2018, the City was awarded a grant for $889,198 from the GMRPTC Legacy Grant Program. The grant funding supported restoration of the scenic Stewart Creek and Sargent Creek Bridges, completion of rock fall mitigation at the Ely’s Peak tunnel, installation of crushed stone on the trail to meet the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) accessibility standards, and construction of an adjacent segment of the Duluth Traverse at Spirit Mountain. The project restored connectivity for the section of the Duluth Winnipeg Pacific (DWP) Trail between Spirit Mountain and Mission Creek.
In 2017, the City was awarded a $150,000 Federal Recreational Trails Grant administered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The grant funding supported infrastructure repairs and trail enhancement from Spirit Mountain west to Becks Road, including trail washout and erosion repair, culvert replacement, and trail grading.