Skyline Parkway closing to allow for additional walking trails | www.WDIO.com

Skyline Parkway closing to allow for additional walking trails

Ryan Juntti
Updated: March 19, 2021 10:47 PM
Created: March 19, 2021 09:24 PM

An upcoming road closure could make driving to Enger Park a little more difficult.

For the second year in a row, Skyline Parkway will close to allow for socially distanced walking and bike riding.

Skyline Parkway around the south side of Enger Park will close to motor vehicle traffic beginning on Monday, and remain closed through May 31.

The City of Duluth first closed Skyline last year in an effort to open up more walking trails for pedestrians, and allow for social distancing.

The city says this was necessary as they needed to move more people off of the natural surface trails while they dried out.

"While we did that, a lot of folks started congregating on the Lakewalk, which meant that they weren't following social distancing guidelines, and COVID hygiene protocols, so we needed to offer them some alternatives to get healthy outdoor recreation, but spread them out," said City of Duluth Parks and Recreation Manager Jessica Peterson.

The city then made the decision to close Skyline, in turn opening up more trail options.

"This year we're continuing that practice. It looks a little bit different. So last year we closed the entire loop around Enger Park. This year, we'll keep the back side of the loop, which is Hank Jensen drive open for vehicular traffic, and the front side of the loop along Skyline that has these great views, will be closed starting Monday, March 22, and will be available only to pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy," said Peterson.

As the trails are still drying out, the city is asking the public to avoid them if the soil is wet or muddy as they can be damaged by walking or driving on them.

The city says that if you notice you are leaving footprints or tire tracks in the mud, the trail is too wet for use.

'"All of these trails are built to a sustainable standard, and what we really want to see is water shedding off and over the trail, so when we create an imprint, whether that's a footprint, a boot print, it could be a paw print from a dog or a tire rut, what's happening is water is then trapped on the trail... That can create some erosion issues down the road, and also be a lot of work for our volunteer partners," said City of Duluth Parks and Recreation Trails Coordinator Matt Andrews.

Andrews says the city is asking the public to look for other options until the trails dry.

"It's hard for us as Duluthians. We're outdoorsy people, we love to be outside, and our trails are just such a great asset for everyone, and I like to remind people, these are your trails, these are everybody's trails for everyone, but during this freeze-thaw period, it typically lasts almost a month in the spring, we really recommend, and we really want people to use different trails that are either paved trails or crushed limestone trails," said Andrews.

Some of the paved and gravel surface trails that remain open for use year round include:

  • Campus Connector Trail
  • Cross-City Trail
  • Duluth Winnipeg Pacific (DWP) Trail
  • Lakewalk
  • Waabizheshikana: The Marten Trail

The city says they may close or open the natural surface trails throughout the year in response to weather conditions.

To learn about the city's trails, and current trail conditions click here.

Credits

Ryan Juntti

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