“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’.
Strategic planning efforts guide the expenditure of Legacy funds towards desired outcomes which are derived from public and stakeholder input, research, analysis and input from a variety of experts and leadership. Parks and Trails planners conduct these efforts. Staffing levels were adjusted to complete this legacy work.
“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.’
The Division of Parks and Trails (as directed by Chapter 172, Art. 3, Sec. 2, Subd. 3(c)) utilizes Conservation Corps of Minnesota services for restoration, maintenance, and other activities that supplement the ability to reach Legacy Fund goals. Budget associated with this program area capture an accounting of dollars that support CCM Summer Youth, Individual Placements, and special projects for park and trail renewal and development. Other dollars not accounted for in this program area are part of other PAT program areas and included as part of those budgets.
“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.’
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.’
Minnesota's Legacy Website is a site that follows the progress of all projects and programs receiving constitutionally dedicated funding from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment as well as the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
The new Minnesota Naturalist Corps, year-round naturalists and seasonal naturalists will be added at the busiest seasonal parks and trails to expand conservation education programming and increase overall attendance at interpretive programs. The Minnesota Naturalist Corps will offer more interpretive programs as directed by new legislative guidelines.
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.
This program area provides for minor campground improvements and adjustments across the system of State Parks and State Recreation Areas; includes opportunities for replacement of fire rings, parking spur leveling, erosion control at campsites, vegetation management, and improved signing. This program report will now be part of "Renewal and Rehabilitation of State Parks and State Recreation Areas"
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.
Provide expanded state trail safety and efforts to protect the integrity of the paved surfaces. This included erecting larger stop and stop ahead signing to be consistent with national standards. Also included additional crack sealing efforts in a more timely manner, increase effort in mowing to increase user safety, reduce woody vegetation close to the trail and reduce the damage to trail surface caused by root suckering. More mowing and timely mowing also reduces the threat of invasives be spread by seeds by mowing prior to that.
This project works to reduce energy consumption and model renewable energy methods on state park, state recreation area, state forest and trail facilities. The DNR Parks and Trails Division is working to increase the use of energy conservation and renewable energy technologies.
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 focuses on the rehabilitation or replacement of existing state trail bridges, including structural engineering inspections of all trail bridges . Of the more than 300 existing bridges on State Trails, the majority are wood or masonry former railroad structures of which more than 1/3 exceed 100 years old. Starting in fiscal year 2014, future PAT reporting will not separate bridges from trails outcomes reporting, as they are part of the same system of recreational use.
State law (M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Ch. 6) directs restoration evaluations to be conducted on habitat restoration projects completed with funds from the Parks and Trails Fund (M.S. 85.53). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for convening a Restoration Evaluation Panel containing at least five technical experts who will evaluate a sample of up to 10 habitat restoration projects annually. The Panel will evaluate the restorations relative to the law, current science, stated goals and standards in the restoration plans, and applicable guidelines.
Group camps provide an opportunity for groups to camp together outside the traditional campground. Group camps are used by scout groups, church groups, social groups, and families. A need has been identified to add amenities to rustic group camps, such as electrical hookups, a picnic shelter, and in some instances, modern sanitation facilities.
This program funds unpredictable maintenance expenditures in State Parks such as storm damage, waterline repair, electrical system repair, erosion repair, utility system repair, and small site improvements.
Provide trail rehabilitation and renewal on state park and forest trails, these are primarily non-motorized trails which due to funding priorities, have not had any significant maintenance for many years. This effort has provided a means to start addressing these trail needs and in doing so working on the most critical first. This has resulted in trail renewal work in 19 state forests and 15 state parks providing for more sustainable trails and better public safety and enjoyment.