Building More Than A Bridge


Building More Than A Bridge

A Split Loop

Within an hour drive from Duluth, the Split Rock River Loop had been one of the most highly recommended day hikes by the Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA), Minnesota DNR park staff, and other tourism agencies. The Superior Hiking Trail runs along both sides of the river gorge and was connected 2.5 miles upstream from Highway 61 by a bridge that completed the loop. When the previous bridge failed in 2015, the river became impassable for most hikers and dangerous to all during high water events. With a clear need to replace the bridge and restore this premier hiking destination along the Superior Hiking Trail, SHTA set out to raise the funds to launch the project.


Soon, we’ll build a bridge over the Split Rock River. The river is often too wide and too deep for safe crossings.

A Successful First For The Association

While SHTA had built and managed the Trail for over 30 years, it had never set out to raise capital for a particular project like this. Prompted by the excitement of several members who pledged major gifts, the Association put together the Case for the Split Rock River Bridge (designed by Red Canoe Cre8tive) and launched a small campaign in September 2017 to raise the estimated $75,000 needed to fund the bridge’s design and construction. SHTA quietly reached out to a mix of local businesses, family funds, and dedicated members – and these generous donors helped us surpass our goal, raising nearly $84,000!

This campaign marks a new chapter for the SHTA as an organization. Not only are we able to move forward on the Split Rock River Bridge, we’re more capable and confident than ever to support the Trail we all love. We could not do this work without our many members, donors, and volunteers.

A special thank you for the generous contributions from the following donors:
  • An Anonymous Family Fund ($37,500)
  • Beth and Gary Hanson ($200)
  • Bill and Kathy Croke ($100)
  • Bob and Priscilla Knighton ($500)
  • Castle Danger Brewing Co. ($2,290)
  • Daniel and Linda Clark ($50)
  • Dave and Mary Miller ($200)
  • Dorothee Aeppli ($750)
  • Duane Kissner ($50)
  • Elger and Barbara Lorenzsonn ($100)
  • Hamilton Family Fund ($4,000)
  • John and Margaret Arnold ($500)
  • Juliana and Kenneth Pronovici ($2,000 w/employer match)
  • Lynn and Richard Blackburn ($500)
  • Members Cooperative Credit Union ($500)
  • Midwest Mountaineering ($7,500)
  • North Central Reforestation, Inc. ($1,000)
  • Northshore Mining ($500)
  • Odyssey Resorts and Development ($10,000)
    • Caribou Highlands Lodge
    • Grand Superior Lodge
    • Larsmont Cottages
  • Red Canoe Cre8tive (Case design work, in-kind)
  • Renner and Martha Anderson ($50)
  • Steve Zenz ($215)
  • TC Running Company ($4,000)
  • Thomas Freeman ($500)
  • Trailfitters ($10,000)
  • Vinod Gupta ($1,000)
  • Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, Inc. ($100)


So, Where’s The Bridge?

With the initial funding in place to begin work, SHTA is seeking consulting engineering advice to ensure our bridge is built to last. Since our bridge site is over two miles from the nearest road, we’re working to secure technical assistance (potentially a helicopter) to deliver our bridge parts and save our volunteers from some of the heaviest lifting. We hope to have design work completed by fall 2018 and begin installation of the bridge in 2019. In the meantime, check out the Split Rock Ridge Loop as an alternative hike on this great stretch of the SHT. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to make progress on this important project!


You Can Power Our Work

Thanks to our generous donors, we have raised enough to get this project off to a great start. However, the cost of bridge building can quickly rise, especially once the project is underway. You can make a gift today to support the Split Rock River Bridge project and ensure the integrity of the Superior Hiking Trail. Donate to the Split Rock River Bridge project