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Gitchi-Gami State Trail User Count Project
Background
The Gitchi-Gami State Trail is a destination trail connecting users to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, including walking and biking, along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Planned to connect the cities of Two Harbors and Grand Marais with 86 miles of paved trail, the current trail stretches 29 miles along the North Shore in six unconnected segments.

The idea for the Gitchi-Gami State Trail was originally conceived in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when a group of stakeholders began discussing the possibility of constructing a recreational trail to provide a safe corridor for bicyclists, in-line skaters, joggers, and walkers along Highway 61, paralleling the North Shore of Lake Superior. This vision came to life in 2001, when the first segment of trail was completed. Development of the trail has continued since 2001, and in 2013 a trail plan update identified future segments for construction and renewed the memorandum of understanding for the roles of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR), and Gitchi-Gami Trail Association (GGTA).

Today, the trail is generally considered popular, but limited data on its actual bicycle and pedestrian traffic volumes and use patterns exist. In turn, the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC), in collaboration with MnDOT, MN DNR, GGTA, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, and the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, launched a project to pilot short-duration continuous monitoring efforts and to collect data on traffic volume and use patterns along the trail in 2015. In the future, the resulting data will enable trail stakeholders and partnering agencies to more effectively plan and manage the trail. It will also provide information needed to determine future routine monitoring of the trail.

The final document explores the methods, costs, and results of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail usage study, discussing the project and making conclusions about the findings at its close.


Documents
To access the final study report, click on the link below.

Gitchi-Gami State Trail 2015 Usage Study


For More Information
For more information on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail User Count Project, please contact:

Mariah Jeske
Project Lead
ARDC
221 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802

Email: mjeske@ardc.org


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