March 27, 2017 07:04 PM
Summer recreation on the Willard Munger State Trail near Duluth may be disrupted. The Minnesota DNR announced Monday morning a 5-mile stretch between Grand Avenue and Becks Road will be closed for most of the summer months.
The trail will be reconstructed, and because heavy machinery will be used, it will be shut off to all pedestrians.
"This is definitely a result of the 2012 flooding," Martin Torgerson, Moose Lake area supervisor for the DNR, said. "There was initial stabilization of the trail after the 2012 flood, which didn't mean necessarily permanent repairs."
For example, Torgerson said there are nine or 10 sections of that 5-mile stretch that were repaired with gravel, which can be hard on rollerbladers or some bikers.
"We have some culverts being replaced and other manholes, smaller culverts, the gravel stretches," Torgerson said.
Jeff Stremcha said he noticed the issues the first time he biked on the trail, about a year ago.
"There were a number of washed-out gravel sections," Stremcha said. "There's a couple of actual paved sections where the pavement is in very tough shape."
He said it's still a gorgeous trail to get in a couple hours of riding, but he brings different equipment to do it.
"Today, I brought my gravel bike instead of a road bike because it handles the rough pavement a little better," Stremcha said.
Art and Barb Boline mostly use the trail for walking.
"It's flat, it's paved. It's a nice place to walk," Art said.
"It's quiet," Barb added.
"If we were rollerblading or something like that, it might be different," Art said. "But for our purposes, for walking, it's better than a dirt path."
Torgerson said he knows this is a well-loved trail, and some might not be happy it will be closed for four months. But he said the end result will be worth it.
"People will definitely love the outcome of this, and it will finally be a whole trail again," Torgerson said.
Plus, those who love to get outdoors know they have alternatives in Duluth and the surrounding area.
"Honestly, when the weather gets nicer, I'll be doing more mountain biking than road riding," Stremcha said.
"We sometimes bike from the Becks end, so it might restrict that a little bit," Art Boline said.
"But there are other options," Barb said.
Work zones will be marked with signs and fencing, and the DNR is asking pedestrians to look for those and stay out.
Updated: March 27, 2017 07:04 PM
Created: March 27, 2017 05:25 PM
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