Munger Trail now open for snowmobiling
After months of repairs and maintenance, most of the Willard Munger State Trail is now open. A final small section of trail from behind the Willard Munger Inn at 7408 Grand Ave. to Riverside Drive remains closed for finishing touches, said Joe Al...
After months of repairs and maintenance, most of the Willard Munger State Trail is now open.
A final small section of trail from behind the Willard Munger Inn at 7408 Grand Ave. to Riverside Drive remains closed for finishing touches, said Joe Alberio, area trails supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
"We're still putting in some safety fence in that area," he said. "But from Hinckley to Riverside, we're expecting a big weekend of snowmobilers on the trails."
Thanks to money from the passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, crews have been working since early October on the first phase of repaving and widening the trail, which included putting up fences, culvert repair and the removal of a closed bridge.
Another portion of the trail was closed near the Buffalo House after heavy rain damaged the trail, making the entire section from Duluth to Carlton impassable since September.
The work hasn't gone as smoothly as Alberio would have liked, although he said the plan was to work on the worst areas of the trail first.
"There were additional challenges discovered in the west Duluth area," he said. "During heavy rainfall, newly-laid asphalt collapsed and a piece of equipment went with it."
To fix it, a void under the trail was filled with cement, which will be inspected again next spring.
Workers also found challenges in repairing a culvert closer to the Buffalo House. A portion of the new culvert collapsed and Carl Sjodin, who lives near that section of trail, recently described the area as a mess.
"I am worried about the snowmobilers," he said, referring to their safety while using the trail.
Alberio said numerous measures have been taken this week to make that section safe for trail users.
"It's all fenced off, caution signs have been put up and the route through that area is indicated by orange construction barrels," he said. "For someone to go down in that area, they'd have to be looking for trouble."
The portion of the trail near the Munger Inn is scheduled to open by Dec. 15.
Work will resume on the trail next spring.