City of Duluth Parks and Recreation

Waabizheshikana (The Marten Trail)

Honoring a River’s History

In 2016, Duluth Parks and Recreation began a robust public planning process to determine future recreational uses for more than 10 miles of shoreline corridor along the St. Louis River Estuary in West Duluth. The City’s vision was to update the original 1979 Western Waterfront Trail Masterplan for a multi-use, non-motorized accessible, natural surface trail connecting seven neighborhoods to the river.

LHB facilitated a year-long stakeholder and community engagement process to gain significant input, which included six stakeholder workshops, two public meetings, and several discussions with environmental agencies. This project required a thorough inventory and analysis of several sensitive and ecological areas. Planning had to address challenges such as balancing ease-of-access with protection of valuable and cultural resources while providing public access to natural areas. The plan defines guiding principles, establishes trail design standards, explores trail extension possibilities, and develops six masterplans for new linear parks and water access points. The trail is now eligible for MNDNR Regional Trail Designation.

Project Type Park and Trail Masterplan, Community Engagement
Location Duluth, MN
Completion Date Phased Over Next 20 years
Size 10 mile Long Trail Corridor, Six New Parks
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Slag Point

A name with meaning

The City partnered with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to determine a dual re-naming for the trail. “Waabizheshikana, The Marten Trail” is meant to honor the Ojibway Marten Clan for their establishment foothold on the estuary.