Railroad Supporters Say City's Plans Are Off the Tracks

Amy Adamle
June 13, 2017 10:53 PM

The Duluth Parks and Rec Department has been working on the Western Waterfront Trail and Park project for ten months now. 

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At a public meeting in Morgan Park, residents got a look at the proposed renovation of the Western Waterfront Trail.  

"It's been a process. We've been studying the future of the existing 3.3 miles of the Western Waterfront and also studying the potential of the expansion of the Western Waterfront to Chambers Grove Park in Fond du Lac," Lisa Luokkala, the project manager, said.  

Also including more access to the river for the public and restoration of natural habitat along the trail.  

"I like the idea of more access for the public to the river. I like the idea of the river being sacred and respected," Dan Conley said. But these changes aren't in everyone's favor.  

The Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad Company has been providing scenic excursions along the river for 37 years. The city's plan would take out the causeway over Mud Lake and shorten the railroad trip by two miles.

 "Shortening the railroad is amputating one of the most essential scenic parts of our excursion line," one of the railroad's board members, Harold Dols said.  

They say it could be detrimental to their business. 

"We don't have a direct response right now, because we really have to look at the viability of running our operations with a significant portion of that removed," Dols said.  

The railroad company said they're willing to work with the city on making a compromise.  They said they hope to meet with them before any next steps are taken.  


Amy Adamle

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