Let me open with: I’m an overweight man who wonders whether he’s being dishonest when he clicks “stocky” on dating websites. I’m not a hiker. I’m an occasional walker-off-pavement.
A story about paving the Minnesota River Bottoms trail in the Twin Cities makes me think about trails in Duluth and about trails in general. Apparently, paving a trail is very expensive, and for that reason, people don’t want to do it.
A 5-mile stretch of the Willard Munger State Trail between Grand Avenue and Becks Road in western Duluth will be closed for an extensive construction project from mid-April through August, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The project will stabilize parts of the treadway damaged during the Historic Solstice Flood Disaster of 2012 and bring that section of the trail up to current standards that call for a wider surface and shoulders. Because heavy equipment will be operating in the area, the section of the trail will be closed to all traffic throughout the project.
The Munger Trail is a collection of three trail segments accommodating multiple uses, including bicycling, walking, horseback riding and snowmobiling. The 70-mile Hinckley–Duluth segment is completely paved — other than the damaged areas — and passes through three state forests and Jay Cooke State Park.
Below are images from spring 2017 showing damaged sections of the trail in Duluth.
The city of Duluth is accepting public comments until July 13 on an environmental assessment worksheet that was prepared for proposed projects at Spirit Mountain Recreation Area in 2016-2017. The plans include Nordic cross-country ski trails, mountain bike trails, Superior Hiking Trail extensions, rail-to-trail conversion, and an 18-hole disc golf course.
The proposed projects would initiate when all permits and approvals are received. They are part of the St. Louis River Corridor Initiative aimed at revitalizing and enhancing recreational opportunities and appropriate development in the western corridor of Duluth.
I was out at Hartley Park this morning and saw that someone had posted signs letting visitors know that the city is considering paving a bunch of trails there. I looked up the mini master plan for Hartley that SRF Consulting Group prepared, and it does indeed call for paved trails running through the park to provide access for bikers, wheelchairs, and parents with strollers. I’m curious about what other PDDers think of this proposal.
Anybody who lives in Lakeside has presumably figured this out by now, but others may be interested to learn that construction on the latest phase of the Lakewalk extension–from 47th to the highway– appears to be rolling along. It looks like the section nearest to 47th may take a little more preparation than the rest due to the slope, but the part farther east might be pretty close to ready for pavement. Based on the work the past couple summers, it doesn’t seem too farfetched to think they’ll be done before fall.