The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission has released its 2021 Policy and Planning Legislative Report. The report includes a review of the Legacy grant recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2023 funding cycle, the criteria and selection process used, as well as an overview of Greater Minnesota's regional system development.
The Commission received 20 eligible funding applications and were able to fund, in whole or in part, all 20 applications! With a $1,860,396 budget make-up due to COVID budget reductions in FY22, the Commission had an unprecedented $12,201,546 to award.
Additionally, $212,053 was placed in a Connecting People with the Outdoors Small Grant Fund that will be used to fund programming, accessibility, and other CPO initiatives that may be modeled as prototype projects in other communities.
Review the full 2021 Policy and Planning Report HERE.
(December 8, 2021 – DULUTH, Minn.) People who enjoy outdoor recreation across Minnesota will soon have their experiences enhanced, once recommendations are approved to fund a record $12.2 million in improvements at 20 regional parks and trails across Greater Minnesota.
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) just completed its application review process and will now ask the Minnesota Legislature to approve the recommendations through the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund, one of four funds created by the 2008 Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The Legislature has annually approved GMRPTC requests, since Legacy Funds are already dedicated and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
“The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission received 20 eligible applications for grants during the 2023 fiscal year, and we’re pleased to recommend funding, in part or in whole, for their excellent approaches to improving parks and trails for users,” said GMRPTC Executive Director Renee Mattson. “We are also able to allocate $212,053 of that amount to create new opportunities for underserved communities.”
Mattson said the Commission is establishing a Connecting People with the Outdoors Small Grant fund, which will be available to all 67 designated parks and trails in Greater Minnesota. Emphasis for grant criteria will be placed on increasing access for underserved and communities of color, enhancing handicap accessibility, transportation and programming. Grant fund applications will be available in early 2022.
See the attached or linked press release below for the full list of 20 parks and trails recommended for funding.
2021 Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Funding Press Release
The Metropolitan Council Regional Parks agency undertook a research study to better understand and provide for the outdoor recreational needs and preferences of young people. After noting that youth engagement has been dropping since the 1990's, the Agency understood that connecting youth to the outdoors is essential to achieve the equitable outcomes required in the Met Council's 2040 Regional Parks Policy Plan.
This report includes an overview of how they collaborated to engage youth, what engagement techniques worked and what didn't, and the key findings of their research. The GMRPTC encourages effective public engagement that builds equitable use among all Minnesotans.
Youth & Parks: Getting Outdoors Close to Home
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces grant funding opportunities for park and trail projects across Minnesota. Applications are now being accepted for the following grant programs: outdoor recreation, natural and scenic area, regional trail, local trail connections and federal recreational trails.
These grants help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund projects ranging from local parks, regional trails to trail connections. Eligibility requirements, deadlines, contact information and other details can be found on the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov or on the following program links:
Outdoor Recreation Grant Program
Natural and Scenic Area Program
Federal Recreational Trail Program
Regional Trail Grant Program
Local Trail Connections Grant Program
The City of Red Wing recently completed a major renovation of He Mni Can/Barn Bluff Park. Supported by Greater Minnesota Legacy funds, the City worked with area Native American tribes, particularly the Prairie Island Indian Community, to recognize, honor and protect the incredible cultural resources on the site.
A new video highlighting the results of the project can be found HERE.
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission is supportive of the great collaborations between local partners and Native American communities throughout the regional system. Working together, these partnerships provide opportunities for all residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors and protect the history that makes our communities unique. We encourage all of our system partners to explore similar possibilities by contacting their local tribal representatives or contacting us for assistance!
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications for the 2022 Noxious Weed and Invasive Plant Grant. Counties, municipalities, tribal governments, and weed management entities (including weed management areas) may apply for grants to mitigate noxious weeds around the state. Grants for fiscal year 2022 will be funded up to $5,000. The awards are intended to support local projects.
Learn more HERE.
Congratulations to the City of Rochester Parks and Recreation Department on the opening of the new Driftless Disc Golf Course at Gamehaven Park! Gamehaven Park has received two Legacy grants from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission and is a beautiful example of how important Legacy is for parks and trails in Greater Minnesota.
Link to Article HERE.
Congratulations to Lake County on the fabulous Split Rock Wilds Mountain Bike Trails! Trail construction on both phases was partially funded by Legacy grants from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.
LINK TO ARTICLE HERE
The US Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity to support economic development through outdoor recreation.
The announcement includes $750 million in funds to support gateway communities' economies. The funds are a part of the American Rescue Plan Act in support of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Follow this LINK to an announcement from the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable about the opportunity.
The US Department of Transportation has released a "Lessons Learned" report updating its experience supporting rail to trail conversion projects over the past 20+ years. The report attempts to capture best practices by addressing common concerns, challenges and factors to consider before, during, and after rail to trail projects.
A summary and full report can be found at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/rwt2021/.
The Rails to Trails Conservancy also has provided a summary article at https://www.railstotrails.org/trailblog/2021/june/25/new-usdot-report-provides-25-years-of-lessons-learned-for-rails-with-trails/?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=trailblog.
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