Client: City of Duluth, MN and Confluence Landscape Architecture & Urban Design
Location: Duluth Traverse Trail, Minnesota
Goal: Create a connected, well-maintained trail system that best serves the community and outdoor recreation tourism industry of Duluth.
In a recent master-planning and public outreach project, Confluence worked together with the City of Duluth and the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) to connect and maintain the Duluth Traverse Trail – an over 100-mile multi-use trail system stretching the entire ridge-line of Duluth, Minnesota.
Confluence is a landscape architecture, planning and urban-design firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Confluence works closely with clients, consultants and the community. They believe in the power of innovation through collaboration.
The Duluth Traverse has been a shared vision between the City of Duluth and COGGS. The Duluth Traverse is a single-track, natural surface, multi-use trail designed to provide a nationally significant mountain biking experience, connect people to Duluth’s beautiful natural places, and exemplify best practices for environmentally sustainable trail design and management.
COGGS are an influential not-for-profit biking group who helped build the trail and are also going to help maintain it. The trail is in segments, so Confluence was engaged to create a masterplan that meets all of the needs of the community as well as connect segments of the trail to create one continuous traverse through the city of Duluth. The City of Duluth and the COGGS have partnered to construct approximately 85% of the trail; however, they still need feedback from the community to assist with completing, maintaining, and managing the Duluth Traverse Trail system to best serve the recreational needs of the region, State of Minnesota, and citizens of Duluth.
Social Pinpoint interviewed Confluence’s landscape architecture, urban design, and planning service consultants’ Brad Aldrich and Jake Coryell about their experience using the Social Pinpoint mapping software for their project.
Brad and Jake were happily surprised with the amount of responses. “We got about 200 hundred hits after we officially stopped recording the map for the client,” said Jake.
“People are starting to have conversations about the comments, like organizing to fixing a trail”. “There are different/distinct neighbourhoods who are separated by landforms and they were getting onto the map and people were placing pins on the map and volunteering to fix a certain part of the trail, then other people are using the discussion option,” continued Brad.
“We plan on keeping the map open for a year, as it is valuable for the city and Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores, and we will continue to update the report.”
Interactive mapping tools are a great tactic to use as part of a community engagement strategy. Social Pinpoint’s online tools allow for easy access for organizations to gather large amounts of valuable information from the community that can help shape a project and identify potential hurdles.
As for the Duluth Traverse Trail, the comments left on the map were used to help create the master plan but the map remains open for comment and discussion. “People are starting to have conversations on these comments, like organising to fix a trail. People were placing pins on the map and volunteering to fix a certain part of the trail. Other people are using the discussion option saying, “Hey this is Tim, I live in the area too and I’d love to help out” – I thought that was kind of cool.” The project is scheduled to be active until the end of 2017.
People spend up to 20 minutes on the site commenting, creating & engaging in discussions with other members of the community.
The project had an overwhelming response from the community receiving over 2,000 views.
The interactive map has received hundreds of comments and discussions so far.