Parks & Recreation

Waabizheshikana Trail Renewal & Restoration


Project Status: Post- Construction

Project Overview:

Habitat Restoration

In 2015, the City of Duluth received a $400,000 Conservation Partners Legacy Metro grant to rehabilitate the native plant species along the Waabizheshikana: The Marten Trail, formerly known as the Western Waterfront Trail, and adjacent public green space.  $175,000 of ½ and ½ funding was used as grant match funds.  The project will take two years to implement first with the removal of invasive plant species and then followed by the planting of native plant species.  In addition, the City has committed to monitor the restoration for 20 years.

Trail Renewal:

In the spring of 2015, the City of Duluth notified of being a recipient of a Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program NOAA grant for $100,000 to assist in the restoration of the Waabizheshikana Trail.  The scope of the grant will include the reestablishment of the original trail width, including replace and re-grading the gravel trail tread. In addition, repair and improve stormwater infrastructure including culvert replacement and restoring stormwater drainages.  Resurfacing boardwalks and bridges with new rot-resistant timbers.  Establish native vegetation to stability failing banks.  Provide Universal Access upgrades to the trail for individuals with mobility impairments.

Project Update:

March 7 to mid April 2016:

The City is ready to implement the Western Waterfront Trail Habitat Restoration plan and has enlisted a contractor to remove buckthorn and/or honeysuckle in several areas between Indian Point Campground and Morgan Park as part of necessary habitat restoration to encourage the growth of native vegetation in the St. Louis River Corridor. A team of 5-8 workers plan to start mobilizing equipment in the next week for cutting and removing buckthorn from 7 AM till 7 PM, Monday through Friday with the possibility of weekend hours depending on progress and weather.

Cut buckthorn will be chipped and brought to two specific burn pile locations, the end of Indian Point Campground and in an isolated area between Morgan Park and Smithville Park. The burn pile locations are not near residential sites or buildings and will be heavily monitored for containment. Wind and weather are other factors that will determine the burning period. 

Due to the propensity for buckthorn to germinate, Garlon 4, a commonly used herbicide, will be used as spot treatment on stumps during the cutting process. Flag markers will be in place informing people of specifically treated areas. To avoid any concerns, the City recommends residents and their pets not come into contact with the herbicide and keep their distance from the treated areas for at least 24 hours following the spot treatment.

 The map of the work areas are provided HERE.


March 24, 2016 - Contractors have finished cutting invasive's in Blackmer Park and are working to finish Munger Landing. Once completed, the crews will move east. Cut materials have been thrown back onto the forest floor with no active burn piles to date, though may become a necessity as work progresses east and into thicker pockets where machinery is not accessible.

Important Documents: