A statement of Concern and Opposition

January 2018
A Statement of Concern for and Opposition to the Proposed Lower Spirit
Mountain Riverfront Park Site Plan (aka: Kayak Bay/Tallas Island Launch Site

To: Duluth Parks & Recreation Commissioners, City Councilors, Mayor Emily Larson, Parks &
Recreation Department, Planning Commission, Urban Forest Commission

The Tallas Island area is, arguably, the quietest and most natural remaining area on the
Minnesota side of the St. Louis River Estuary. A paddle through this area is quiet and awe
inspiring. Quiet, not just for humans, but a safe haven for many species of birds and aquatic
flora and fauna pressured by human development and uses. While it has recently been
disturbed by the construction of the Spirit Mountain water line, and more long range by
invasive species, it remains a sensitive area providing safe habitat for many species. To unnecessarily
disturb the area by additional and significant human development is to further
negatively disrupt this precious and rare area along the estuary. This is not acceptable when
there are other viable options to accomplish the goals and objectives of the planned housing
development nearby and for access to the river.

Within a reasonable distance in either direction from the proposed launch site are other
accessible areas very suitable for “drive to” launch sites. Some already existing sites could be
developed or modified to separate kayak/canoe launching from motorized watercraft launch
and which could provide separation from the majority of boat traffic and its resulting water
disturbance. Others, such as Kingsbury Creek, could be developed as launch sites. There are
several site options within, or very close to, the Spirit Mountain area.

At Tallas Island, more primitive and less environmentally disruptive access could still be
provided with a drop-off zone just above the tracks, parking closer to Grand Avenue, as well as
at Spirit Mountain’s lower chalet, and a walk and carry trail/foot path to river access. There
would be less motorized traffic disturbing the proposed housing development and a “greener”
environment for the tenants and the area as expressed in the plans.

As stated in the Riverside Small Area Plan vision statement, and reiterated by Mr. Filby
Williams, ….”Promote the harmonic development of land for additional housing and
commercial opportunities that enhance recreational amenities and preserve local ecologies”, a
commitment to a vision consistent with the St. Louis River Estuary and Western Waterfront
restoration and development master and mini-master plans is expected. To develop and carry
out a plan that does not contribute to this vision, when there are other good and viable
alternatives, a plan not consistent with other projects completed, underway, and those yet in
planning stages is not acceptable.

We are strongly and uniformly opposed to the current plan and support the pursuit of other
options which can adequately, and even better, meet the expressed objectives of the Riverside
Small Area Plan, the concerns of local environment focused organizations, and Duluth area

Please see the documents attached for information germane to this issue (and referenced

 Riverside SAP Partial 41-42_44-46_59_64-68 – Riverside Small Area Plan excerpts Link
here to entire plan http://www.duluthmn.gov/media/445925/Riverside-Small-Area-
 IKES Position Tallas Island 20170325.pdf – Local Isaac Walton League response to
Western Waterfront Trail extension presentation 3/25/17