City of Duluth Parks and Recreation

Lakewalk and Brighton Beach Resiliency

A Superior Connection

Duluth’s Lakewalk is a beloved and heavily used multi-use trail system, beginning in Canal Park and running nearly eight miles along the shores of Lake Superior to Brighton Beach. The surrounding landscape is extraordinarily beautiful and is unique in its proximity to Lake Superior’s waterfront. The trail, however, is in poor condition due to heavy pedestrian use, and the infrastructure and shoreline have been severely damaged by continual wave and storm action.

LHB, in collaboration with the city’s park and recreation team, worked to establish revitalization goals and develop conceptual designs for a 3-mile portion of the corridor. General themes focused on implementing sustainability and resiliency by “retreating away” from the lake and by “re-wilding the landscape” to its natural condition wherever possible. Providing public access infrastructure near the shoreline, while also trying to balance protecting natural resources and preserving the natural character of the area was also a main priority.

Project Type Park and Trail Design
Location Duluth, MN
Completion Date Anticipated 2023
Example of a North Shore Coastal Forest Restoration Area

Re-Wilding with a North Shore Coastal Forest

A planting scheme to restore the Lakewalk and Brighton Beach to a North Shore Coastal Forest is a project strategy that will help lower the City’s maintenance needs while creating a more sustainable and resilient landscape. The native plants included in the plans are species found in upland white cedar forest, North Shore spruce-fir woodland, and Lake Superior bedrock shrubland.

Outline of social trails and wear on the landscape

Addressing the impacts of social trails

The Lakewalk is one of the only areas in Duluth where people can be close to Lake Superior. The landscape however, is in poor shape due to many informal footpaths that have developed. This project addresses existing social trails and recommends closure of some and the formalization of others, to further protect the shoreline from erosion while balancing providing public access to the water.

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