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Western Waterfront Trail will share corridor with excursion train

The Duluth News Tribune reports a plan has emerged to extend Duluth’s Western Waterfront Trail via a rail corridor, while maintaining a scenic train service that would continue to use the same route. The proposed future name of the trail is “Waabizheshikana” — pronounced: waa-bah-zhay-kuh-nuh — meaning “Marten way, path or road.”

The name honors the Marten Clan for its establishment of a foothold on the estuary and for the leadership of the hereditary chiefs from the Marten clan as they guided the path of the Fond du Lac people through interactions with fur traders and the U.S. government in treaty-making.

Recommendations in the St. Louis River Corridor Mini-Master Plan include:

  • Rebrand the Western Waterfront Trail as a heritage trail, including renaming the trail to reflect and honor the cultural and historical significance of the area.
  • Initiate a separate heritage interpretive planning process to identify and articulate the stories of the river and the area.
  • Extend the existing trail to connect seven river corridor neighborhoods by way of a trail alignment that traverses the shoreline and nearby ridgeline.
  • Improve three existing water access sites and develop three additional water access sites to increase public riverfront use.
  • Design all these facilities to ensure accessibility, regardless of income, age or physical ability.

The plan will be reviewed by the parks commission on Nov. 12, then will proceed to the city council on Nov. 25.

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