HNC Stewardship Activities

Hartley Park is managed by the City of Duluth Parks and Recreation department, in partnership with Hartley Nature Center. An important component of Hartley Nature Center’s mission is to be good stewards of Hartley Park and its natural resources, and to help the city preserve what is a special place in our region. Through ecological restoration, biological monitoring, trail improvements, park user interactions, and stewardship education, our aim is to ensure Hartley Park remains a community asset for generations to come. From big projects to the everyday maintenance, we strive to meet our mission with the help of volunteers, corporate service teams, and other community organizations, as well as with our park partners.

Learn more about the city of Duluth’s Mini-Master Plan for Hartley Park.

In 2020, Hartley Park’s nomination for the Duluth Natural Areas Program was approved, click HERE for more information

Invasive Species Work

Hartley Nature Center has partnered with the Stewardship Network Duluth Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA). The Duluth CISMA is a group of city, county, & state agencies, non-profit organizations, community associations, & private citizens whose mission it is to help citizens & communities protect our lands from the damages caused by invasive species. Hartley Nature Center works alongside these partners to help combat invasive species in the park. We are currently engaged in multiple efforts to control invasives, both native and non-native, through mechanical, biological, and chemical efforts. The major force behind Hartley Nature Center’s restoration efforts comes from the work of dedicated volunteers. Hartley volunteers work hard to remove existing invasive species and restore them with native species. Invasive species that have received the bulk of our efforts to date include:

  • Common and Glossy Buckthor
  • Common Tansy
  • Reed Canary Grass
  • Earthworms
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Purple Loosestrife

Along with the invasive work in Hartley Park, Hartley Nature Center at various points in the year offers community informational/educational opportunities to learn about combating invasive species in their neighborhoods. Additionally Hartley rents plant pullers to encourage removal of buckthorn and other invasive plants.

Buckthorn Pullers

$15 per week for non-members, FREE for members

    • We offer two different brands on pullers in three sizes.
  • You must sign a waiver and pay at the front desk in Hartley Nature Center before pick up.

Ecological Restoration

Hartley Park’s history as a farm, and more recent disturbance by invasive species & natural disasters (2012 flood, 2016 blow down), make it important for continued restoration of native plants. Ecological restoration is a big part of HNC stewardship activities every year. While this list is nowhere near complete, below are some of the highlights from the past several years…

2016 – Nearly 3000 tamarack, white pine, cedar, and spruce trees were donated and planted by Minnesota Power and Community Action Duluth in areas that were hardest hit by the 2016 wind storm.

2017 – Native prairie plants were planted by Prairie Restorations in several areas of the park.

2018 – 25 chokecherry plants were donated and planted by local boy scouts

2018 – 150 native milkweed plants were planted by HNC volunteers and members of the Arrowhead Chapter of Wild Ones

2018 – 500 native white pine and red oak trees were donated and planted by the Duluth Rotary club

2018 – 200 native juneberry, dogwood, wild plum, and highbush cranberry plants were donated by St. Louis County and planted by HNC interns and staff members in the HNC playscape.

Biological Monitoring

Hartley Nature Center has a long history of biological monitoring. Over the years, we have partnered with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, College of Saint Scholastica, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Hawks Ridge Observatory, Natural Resources Research Institute, Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center, and many other organizations to monitor biological resources. The list of species observed includes: native plants, fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and other invertebrates. HNC continues to monitor and document important biological resources in the park, in an effort to understand how our use impacts those resources. Data is collected by school groups, camp participants, HNC staff, and volunteers. The most recent projects include the Northwoods Vernal Pool Initiative, Hartley Park Frog & Toad Calling Survey, and the Hartley Bluebird Nest Box Monitoring Program. For more information on these programs, visit our volunteer page.

Trail Maintenance

Hartley Nature Center works alongside the City of Duluth, Cyclists of Gitchee-Gumee Shores, Duluth Cross Country, and Superior Hiking Trail Association to build and maintain trails throughout the park. This often includes mowing and trimming of miles of trails throughout the park. In 2018 trail maintenance highlights included:

Building 500 feet of hiker only trail to the top of Rock Knob

Working with the City of Duluth to make the exclosure trails accessible.

Rerouting the Naymark multi-use trail to better shed water and be more sustainable over time.

More to come….