Invasive species, including buckthorn, is a significant challenge for parks and trails across Greater Minnesota. This article provides a nice introduction to the background, impacts and treatment strategies for buckthorn.
The National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program is now taking applications. If your project is accepted, staff time is provided free of charge for a year or more to assist with planning new parks, trails or conservation areas; or to help with other outdoor conservation or outdoor recreation related projects. The application form, guidelines, and a description of current projects can be found in the attached links. The application is relatively simple, but the application deadline is approaching: Applications must be e-mailed or postmarked by June 30th.
Click here for more information.
In another busy week for the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, three more Master Planning Workshops were held across the state. On Monday, Executive Director Renee Mattson, System Plan Coordinator Joe Czapiewski along with Commissioners Tim Kennedy and Keith Nelson held a workshop for District 1 in Duluth. In Morris on Wednesday, Commissioners Peg Furshong and Mike Hulett joined Czapiewski for a District 3 workshop. Finally, on Thursday Commissioner Tom Schmitz joined Czapiewski for a District 5 workshop in New Ulm. District Planning Committee meetings were held alongside each workshop, which have become a Commission tradition over the last three years.
One final Master Plan Workshop remains, on Wednesday, May 3 at 3:00 in the Wright County Park and Recreation Offices in Buffalo. If you haven't been able to attebd the other workshops, please join District 4 for this last opportunity for an in-person learning experience focusing on Unit Master Plan creation and the use of the online Master Planning portal, as well as the basics about the GMRPTC application process.
This week, officials from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission met with local representatives to tour potential project sites along the regionally-designated Red Lake River Water Trail. Several cities, counties, and a watershed district have spent over ten years developing the original concept and master plan. The tour was an opportunity to see priority river access, camping and recreation sites for future improvement. District 2 Commissioner Bryan Pike, Executive Director Renee Mattson, and System Plan Coordinator Joe Czapiewski participated in the tour.
Due to scheduling conflicts, the date for the District 4 Application/Master Plan workshop has changed to May 3rd - location and time is the same. All other workshops remain as originally publicized. Please remember that this year, these FREE workshops will focus on Master Plan creation in the updated online Master Plan portal. Please share this information with other interested parties in Greater Minnesota.
Here is the complete workshop schedule. See the attached, updated flyer for details.
April 17 12:30 - 2:30 District 6 Owatonna
April 18 2:30 - 4:30 District 2 Bemidji
April 24 2:30 - 4:30 District 1 Duluth
April 26 1:30 - 3:30 District 3 Morris
April 27 10:00 - Noon District 5 New Ulm
May 3 3:00 - 5:00 District 4 Buffalo *Changed from earlier date
If you have any questions, please contact System Plan Coordinator Joe Czapiewski at 218-556-3651.
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission will be holding a series of District workshops in late April. This round of workshops is geared towards helping park and trail planners, managers and advocates utilize the Commission’s online Master Planning portal, which has been updated for 2017. Information about the GMRPTC regional designation application, process and funding requirements will also be reviewed. Please see the attached flyer for more information and workshop details.
This Star-Tribune article links to a statewide study on the economic and health impacts of recreation and commuter bicycling. This can be important information for trail developers and community leaders as they consider investments in infrastructure, economic development and community events.
Minnesota Star-Tribune Article
U of M Research Report
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission will be temporarily closing its online application and master planning portal for improvements. Starting Friday, March 10 at 4:00 p.m. until March 27th, the Data Management System (DMS) will not be available for users. Any data entry projects should be completed or stopped prior to the shut down.
The Commission has operated an online DMS since 2015. Users access the DMS to apply for designation as a regional park or trail, complete a Master Plan, and apply for funding. During the shutdown, upgrades to the technology and system will lead to a more stable, user friendly platform allowing for more expansion in the future. This is an anticipated shut down that has been in the planning stages for several months. All existing data and users will be a part of the upgrade and will be accessible when the portal re-opens on March 27.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact System Plan Coordinator Joe Czapiewski at email@example.com
Olmsted County is currently searching for a new Parks Superintendent. More information available at this link.
Connecting People to the Outdoors Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission Pilot Project Update
On November 22, 2016, Wright and Stearns counties entered into a contract with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (PWELC) to provide Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education Programs throughout their park systems. Once the contract was signed by all parties, PWELC began to develop “Schools in the Park” as the first pilot program for the contract. The pilot program was funded through the GMRPTC with a Legacy grant that will enable the program to operate for two years.
Upon conclusion of the program, full documentation and instructions for creating similar programs will be available for entities wanting to host this type of activity in their parks.
The Concept of Schools in the Parks
Schools in the Park is meant to provide the “seed” for future stewards of our park systems by exposing students to various regional parks through recreational activities and environmental education. This program will potentially provide the foundation for lifelong park users and enthusiast by exposing them to activities such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, wildlife identification, wilderness survival, hiking and paddling.
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