Equestrian Trail Development
In 2013, the newly formed Duluth Area Horse Trail Alliance (DAHTA) applied for and won a Parks Fund Grant. This grant supported hiring of a trail designer to look at the feasibility of building a trail from the terminus of the Duluth Winnipeg Pacific (DWP) through the upper Mission Creek area to the equestrian trails in the adjacent Jay Cooke State Park. DAHTA has been in talks with both the state park and nearby Buffalo House to create additional destinations for equestrians.
In 2014, DAHTA worked to bring forth a resolution to City Council reopening the Amity Trail in eastern Duluth following culvert and ditch repairs to the old road. That trail reopened in 2015. In 2014, Duluth began its visioning for the use of the 1/2 and 1/2 tourism tax, which includes up to $250,000 for Equestrian Trails. In 2015, the City of Duluth commissioned a Magney Snively trail study to assess the potential for environmentally sustainable equestrian non winter season use of the main ski trail loop, the Ely Peak ski trail loop, and portions of the snowmobile trail in Magney Snively Natural Area.
The result concluded that any non-winter use of those trails would require significant hardening of the trail. Hardening the trail also benefits skiers when conducting off-season maintenance such as trail brushing.
The Elys Peak loop was improved and hardened to withstand equestrian use in 2018. Trail signage and wayfinding was installed in 2019.
Additional trail hardening for the Ely Peak Loop was completed in the fall of 2022 through funding from the Minnesota Trail Riders Association and the Federal Recreation Trails Program totaling $5,000.