Planning & Development

Strategic Public Lands Realignment Project

The future ownership, management, and use of 5,561 acres of tax forfeit open space in Duluth is the subject of a partnership between the City of Duluth and St. Louis County. Labeled the Strategic Lands Realignment Project, the collaborative initiative supports two critical goals in the Imagine Duluth 2035 Comprehensive Plan for the City to acquire and permanently protect that major portion of tax forfeit open space that has significant environmental, recreational, and/or storm water management value, and support County sale of that minor portion of tax forfeit open space -located next to public infrastructure and lacking significant environmental value - which can be economically developed for housing or other community priorities.

The parcels identified for acquisition through the Strategic Lands Realignment Project has been years in the making. The Project is a result of nearly a decade of collaborative analysis, public engagement, and problem solving between the City of Duluth, St. Louis County, and the Minnesota Land Trust.

In 2023, the City finalized the purchase of 2,199 acres of land to be designated as park or natural area. Some parcels were also acquired to allow for stormwater management. These lands were tax forfeit properties, held by the County. Many of these lands were already being used by the public for recreation, now under City ownership, they can be formally managed by the City of Duluth.

A map has been developed to show the status of various parcels under this project. This map shows City land, parcels acquired in 2023 in five identified "project areas," and parcels that the City still hopes to acquire in the future for various uses, including preservation and development. This map is regularly updated and can be found here: Public Strategic Lands Map (

  1. PDF of the 35 slide PowerPoint of June 29th and June 30th, 2021 Public Information Meeting
  2. Link to video of June 30th, 2021 presentation
  3. Development Suitability GIS Analysis (2018 Study).
  4. City/County Tax Forfeit Parcel Selection Guidelines (2020).
  5. Purpose and Process for Protecting State Tax Forfeited Lands Acquired by the City for Open Space and/or Public Use