Community Extra: Duluth's Lakewalk continues to grow
The Duluth Lakewalk, a system of pathways along our city's lakeshore and harbor front, is now 10 blocks longer. This new 10-foot-wide bituminous trail -- which was paid for with funding provided by the Federal Enhancement Grant and the Department...
The Duluth Lakewalk, a system of pathways along our city's lakeshore and harbor front, is now 10 blocks longer.
This new 10-foot-wide bituminous trail -- which was paid for with funding provided by the Federal Enhancement Grant and the Department of Natural Resources Trail Grant -- will bring visitors from 26th Avenue East over a 125-foot pedestrian bridge spanning Tischer Creek to 36th Avenue East.
The Lakewalk, which opened in 1988, is for walkers, runners and people self-propelled on wheels.
Motorized vehicles are not permitted.
Part of Lakewalk parallels the last remaining downtown railroad track, which extends both westward and northeastward along the shore.
It carries freight occasionally, but is a popular excursion line.
Waterfront attractions with direct access to the Lakewalk include Bayfront Festival Park, the Great Lakes Aquarium, Duluth's Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC), excursion boats and charter fishing docks, Maritime Visitor Center, Aerial Lift Bridge, ship canal, museum shops, historic factories and warehouses converted to new enterprises, Lake Place and Leif Erikson parks, plus the many shops, restaurants, and lodging places of the Canal Park district and venerable Fitger's Brewery complex.
The city of Duluth is fortunate to have its downtown right here on the lake and harbor.
Originally this waterfront was valued mainly for its commercial and industrial advantages.
Public use and access were limited; many sites were allowed to deteriorate.
The wharves, tracks and piles of scrap metal were our unsightly backyard, neglected until we realized how the city's economy was beginning to change after World War II.
An awakening started in the '60s and '70s, sparked by a few businesses with vision and the voters decision to replace the rail and scrap yards with a new arena and auditorium.
Many more recent changes we now enjoy were formalized or inspired by the Downtown Duluth Waterfront Plan in 1986, which designed an urban centerpiece while retaining areas of the harbor and St. Louis River estuary for the commerce and industry fundamental to our economy.
Creation of the Lakewalk was coordinated with construction of Interstate Highway 35 through the eastern part of our downtown in the 1980s.
Much of the freeway was built below grade and the excavated rock was salvaged to fill and armor the lakeshore.
The Lakewalk is a favorite place of many Duluthians and tourists to watch the lakers and ocean freighters approach or depart from the canal, the colorful spinnakers of racing sailboats, spectacular sun and moon rises, turbulent surf or the sparking lights of the city at night.
The next Lakewalk extension is planned to extend from 36th Ave East to 47th Ave East; this and future extensions will be paid for by a federal enhancement grant.
Phase three will extend from 47th Ave East to 60th, phase four from 60th Ave East to Highway 61; and phase five to cross Highway 61 and connect to Brighton Beach.
Article submitted by Duluth's Parks and Recreation Department.