COGGS’ trail nights bring a variety of improvements to Duluth’s many trails

Duluth is well-known for its mountain biking trails, and that is due in part to a non-profit organization known as COGGS.

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“COGGS is the ‘Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores’. They’ve been around since the early nineties as an organization,” said Executive Director Ansel Schimpff. “Then in mid 2000, they came to the mayor in Duluth with this proposal for this Duluth traverse system that we have. After a lot of hard work and a lot of fundraising, they’ve got that trail completed or almost entirely completed across the whole city.”

Now volunteers from COGGS play a crucial role in maintaining the city’s many bike trails. 

“There are bigger projects that we contract out to other trail companies, but we have a trail night basically every night of the week and a different trail system in town here. So any time you want to go out and do trail work, there’s something to do,” said Schimpff.

Each trail night has a different goal in mind to improve a given trail.

“There’s a lot of drainage work that we do later in the summer. All of our trails will get overgrown, and so we have a whole fleet of weed wipers and leaf blowers, and we send people out there to clear the trails and make sure that they’re not getting too overgrown,” Schimpff explained. “So that just helps with safety and helps with the user experience as well.”

Trail work sometimes involves creating a new trail, such as a new path for bikers at Spirit Mountain. 

“I’ve lived all over the country, and this is the best access to trails we have anywhere,” said Schimpff. “The quality of trails just keeps getting better and better and we keep adding more variety of trails. We’ve got one of the best trail systems anywhere in the world.”