“Acquiring Land and Creating Opportunities - A Parks and Trails Strategic Objective” is a program area representing DNR’s commitment to one of the four pillars identified in the 25 year Legacy plan. The Legacy plan identifies its purpose to ‘create new and expanded park and trail opportunities to satisfy current customers as well as to reach out to new ones’.
“Connecting People to the Outdoors- A Parks and Trails Strategic Objective” is a program area representing DNR’s commitment to one of the four pillars identified in the 25 year Legacy plan. The Legacy plan identifies its purpose to ‘better develop Minnesota’s stewards of tomorrow through efforts to increase life-long participation in parks and trails.’
“Coordinating with Partners- A Parks and Trails Strategic Objective” is a program area representing DNR’s commitment to one of the four pillars identified in the 25 year Legacy plan. The Legacy plan identifies its purpose to ‘enhance coordination across the large and complex network of public, private, and non-profit partners that support Minnesota’s parks and trails to ensure seamless, enjoyable park and trail experiences for Minnesotans.’
This program provides critical assistance to MN DNR Parks and Trails Division Regional and District offices to assist with renewal and rehabilitation efforts prioritized locally by field staff. Projects include the following types: State Park Building and Facilities Emergency Repair and Maintenance, Paved Trail Maintenance and Asset Preservation, and State Park and State Forest Trail Renewal. This project is a newly reorganized budget area that consolidates these three smaller project areas reported on in previous years.
The Division of Parks and Trails is creating innovative programs to attract new audiences, particularly young families, to Minnesota state parks and trails. Skill-building programs, such as "I Can Camp!," provide a trial opportunity by eliminating the barriers of needing to have pre-existing knowledge or gear for the activity. Special events, such as National Get Outdoors Day, generate enthusiasm and a sense of urgency to visit. Gateway programs introduce visitors to a host of outdoor pursuits, including those offered by other divisions of the Minnesota DNR.
This on-going program is for detecting, mapping and controlling invasive plant species and re-establishing native vegetation in their place on lands administered by the Division of Parks and Trails. Control of invasive plant species furthers progress to preserve and restore the quality of native plant communities on Parks and Trails lands as well as helps prevent the spread of invasives to new locations.
“Maintaining Existing Holdings - A Parks and Trails Strategic Objective” is a program area representing DNR’s commitment to one of the four pillars identified in the 25 year Legacy plan. The Legacy plan calls this ‘Take Care of What We Have,’ and identifies its purpose to ‘provide safe, high-quality park and trail experiences by regular re-investment in park and trail infrastructure, and natural resource management.’
There are 67 Minnesota State Parks and 7 Minnesota State Recreation areas that each have facilities to serve outdoor recreation users. Funds in this category are used for developing new facilities and include visitor centers, trail centers, roads, parking lots, bridges, campgrounds, and so on.
New State Trail development to complete key missing trail segments or to fulfill funding gaps in trail development projects. Potetial development to include multi-use trail, trail parking areas, trail waysides, or trail bridges. New trail development includes all associated engineering, design and construction, and is to incorporate current Best Management Practices.
The Division of Parks and Trails is engaged in critical work to connect people to the outdoors. As part of the work in this project area, the new touch-screen kiosk project will increase awareness about outdoor recreation opportunities at Minnesota state parks and trails among underrepresented groups by creating and installing accessible, touch-screen kiosks with information in multiple languages, in high-traffic, family-oriented locations.
The 17 member Park and Trail Legacy Advisory Committee is appointed by the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, the Chair of the Metropolitan Council and the Chair of the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. The mission of the committee is to champion the 25 year "Parks and Trails Legacy Plan" by providing recommendations to enhance promotion, coordination, and accountability throughout implementation of the plan.
To provide grants to local units of government to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance outside of the seven county metropolitan area. Funding for this grant program is from the Parks and Trails Fund created by the Minnesota Legislature from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment passed by the voters in 2008.
Renewal of existing State Trail surfaces, parking areas, and trail wayside areas, improving accessibility, enhancing user safety and implementing current best management practices. MNDNR Parks and Trails Division has a identified approximately 85 miles of existing state trail in need of rehabilitation and upgrading. This program also focuses on the rehabilitation or replacement of existing state trail bridges, including structural engineering inspections of all trail bridges .
This program aims to meet emerging and unique project needs in the Minnesota State Parks and Trails system. The program has initiated activities around Buffalo herd management and has plans for other activities to be determined.