When it was first planned back in 1979, no one could have predicted the popularity of the Western Waterfront Trail; the low-impact trail offers a more wooded experience than other trails in the city - especially the Lakewalk.  Regular users of the Western Waterfront Trail enjoy the chance to see the beauty of the St. Louis River, without the presence of the downtown area.

As the trail gets ready to celebrate it's 40th anniversary, it's getting ready for some improvements along with a new name.  According to information released by the City of Duluth, the new name of the trail is Waabizheshikana - a name that celebrate its heritage.

The name Waabizheshikana (Marten trail) is meant to honor the Marten Clan for their establishment of a foothold on the estuary as well as 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 US Government in treaty-making.

In addition to the new name, the trail is being graced with a "Mini Master Plan" - with elements that would help re-boot it for the next 40 years.  Punch-list items on that Mini Master Plan in 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 proposal will see a vote from the Parks Commission on November 12, then will proceed to City Council on November 25, 2019.


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