Duluth's Trails: A Path to Economic Success

By KBJR News 1

October 8, 2012 Updated Nov 7, 2012 at 3:48 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The trail systems in Duluth can lead to a lot of places, but Mayor Don Ness is hoping they'll lead to economic development.

"The creation of hiking trails and biking trails really add to the quality of life," said Mayor Ness.

Ness says investment in the city's trail system is a means for attracting people to live in the city, including entrepreneurs, engineers and business owners who will grow the area's economy. He says Duluth's trails and other natural assets put it above its competitors in attracting people to the area.

"Let's use those advantages and turn them into advantages in our economic development, in our community development, in increasing our population," he said.

One of those investments is the proposed Duluth Traverse Trail, a 100-mile, multi-use trail that would span the city.

"The trail will actually go through most of the neighborhoods in town," said Hansi Johnson, Midwest Regional Director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Johnson is helping to bring the Duluth Traverse to fruition. He says that it will be a draw to people thinking about living in the area as the trail will be within walking distance of some residential areas.

Johnson says that when it comes to trails, Duluth has natural advantages.

"There's a lot of unbroken green space that goes the length of the city from West to East and that's really interesting," said Johnson.

Salsa Cycling Brand Manager, Jason Boucher, came to Duluth from the Twin Cities to take photos for the cycling company. He says that the drive was more than worth it, because the trails in Duluth are like no place else.

"If you didn't know you were in Duluth and you just road these three, four trail networks, you'd never know they were the same trails. It's pretty spectacular," he said, "One hundred miles of trails in the Duluth area, where else do you have that in Minnesota? Nowhere."

Mayor Ness says that investing in the city's trails shows that Duluth is well–rounded and committed to investing in quality of life.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.