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Three meetings on Superior Hiking Trail through Duluth this week

The Superior Hiking Trail Association is hosting three community meetings to discuss building the Superior Hiking Trail through Duluth and to present a map of the proposed route to community residents. "The trail is narrow and rugged, designed fo...

The Superior Hiking Trail Association is hosting three community meetings to discuss building the Superior Hiking Trail through Duluth and to present a map of the proposed route to community residents. "The trail is narrow and rugged, designed for foot travel only. The proposed route is mostly on public lands on the rocky ridgeline above Lake Superior and the St. Louis River valley," said John Green, a retired UMD geology professor and a scout for the proposed route. "We've been amazed at the beauty we've found in these undeveloped public lands -- stately pine groves, rocky ridges, maple and oak forests, cascading creeks and sweeping views."

The community meeting dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday, Park and Recreation Building, 12 E. 4th St.
  • Wednesday, Munger Inn, 7408 Grand Ave.
  • Thursday, Lester Park Community Center, 106 N54th Ave. E.

Each meeting will begin at 7 p.m. with an open house where there will be an opportunity to view the map and ask questions. A presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. After the presentation, people will again have an opportunity to view the map and ask questions.
The association received permission from the city to flag a proposed route in August 2002. The proposed route is now about 90 percent identified and flagged. About 95 percent of the route is on public lands, with private lands being flagged only after permission has been granted from the landowner. "We think it is important to show the route to community residents at this point," said Gayle Coyer, executive director of the association. "Once the route is completely flagged, we need to go through an approval process with the city which includes the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Planning Commission and the City Council. This is just the first step, but it's an important one."

The entire Superior Hiking Trail, which currently extends for over 200 miles from Two Harbors to the Canadian border, is also proposed to become a segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail, a long distance trail over 4,000 miles in length from upstate New York to the Missouri River in North Dakota. The association has invited representatives from the National Park Service to the meetings to discuss the proposal and to gather public comments.

The 1982 Comprehensive Plan for the North Country Trail envisioned a route running west from Duluth to the Chippewa National Forest near Grand Rapids. "Since then, many people suggested that a better and more scenic route could be found by routing the trail via existing trails in the Arrowhead region," said Tom Gilbert, superintendent for the North Country Trail for the National Park Service. "These meetings will be an opportunity for the public to discuss the proposal with National Park Service representatives and provide us with their comments."

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