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Parks & Recreation

Duluth Natural Areas Program


Program Overview:

Duluth Natural Areas Program Brochure

The Duluth Natural Areas Program (DNAP) was created and adopted by ordinance in 2002 to protect and preserve Duluth's natural heritage for the public good. It was established because the City and other governmental entities own a large number of tracts of real estate, some of which are of environmental significance in the community. We are vested in may of these areas and often believe these special places will always be there. The titles to these lands don't include long lasting security for natural resource protection, nor are they necessarily all owned by the City. This local program is designed to help us better protect and manage these remaining relatively undisturbed natural areas to ensure the services and values they provide (e.g., habitat diversity, water quality, flood retention, and a sense of places for us all) are preserved now and into the future from sale and development.

A link to the ordinance and the guidelines for implementing the ordinance are provided below under important documents. The City is committed to preserving in perpetuity public lands as determined in accordance with the criteria and to offer the opportunity for voluntary preservation of similar lands owned by others. These criteria include plant and animal communities, habitat for special species, natural water features, important bird habitat areas, and geologic landforms.

To date, Magney Snively is the only Duluth Natural Area. It consists of approximately 1,800 acres of eleven different high quality native plant communities, one of which is the largest known Sugar Maple-Basswood forest in the area.

The City is primed to start the public nominating process for two more areas: Hartley Park and the St. Louis River Corridor.

St. Louis River Corridor Program Nomination:

The City in partnership with the MN Land Trust is in the process of collecting plant community and bird survey data and reviewing several parcels of land across the St. Louis River Corridor to evaluate lands that meet the intention of the DNAP. From there, a nomination report will be drafted for the public process.

 The public process schedule for this nomination is as follows:

  • Stakeholder meeting and open house - January or February 2019
  • Parks and Recreation Commission Presentation -February or March 2019
  • Parks and Recreation Commission Action Requested - March or April 2019
  • Planning Commission Action Requested - April or May 2019
  • City Council Action Requested - June 2019

Hartley Program Nomination: 

The City in partnership with Hartley Nature Center is currently in the process of nominating approxminately 620 acres of Hartley Park as a Duluth Natural Area. These lands include one of the largest northern hardwood forests and wet meadows in the City. The park also has a long history of education and recreational activity related to the enjoyment, preservation and restoration of the natural environment.

 The public process schedule for this nomination is as follows:

  • Stakeholder meeting and public open house - June 28, 2018 - Click here for copy of presentation
  • Parks and Recreation Commission Presentation - July 11, 2018
  • Parks and Recreation Commission Action Requested - August 8, 2018
  • Planning Commission Action Requested - September 11, 2018
  • City Council Action Requested - September 24, 2018

Hartley Nomination Documents:

Hartley DNAP Nomination Report

Hartley DNAP Fact Sheet

Update to Parks Commission Hartley (05/9/2018)

Public Meeting Presentation Hartley June 28, 2018

St. Louis River Nomination Documents:

St. Louis River Nomination Report Draft

Native Plant Community & Special Species Verification and Mapping

Bird Survey St. Louis River Natural Area

St. Louis River DNAP Fact Sheet

Presentation for Planning Commission and City Council

Magney-Snively DNAP Documents:

Magney-Snively Nomination Report

Magney-Snively Management Plan

Magney-Snively Fact Sheet

Supporting Materials:

 City Ordinance Establishing Duluth Natural Areas Program (2002)

 Duluth Natural Areas Program Guidelines (Council Approved 09/9/2002)

 2010 Duluth Parks Master Plan

 Imagine Duluth 2035 Comprehensive Pan Update - Open Space Policies and Strategies


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Diane Desotelle
Natural Resources Coordinator
City Hall, Ground Floor, 411 W First Street, Duluth, MN 55802
411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802


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