In June 2020 the Parks and Trails Legacy Partners embarked on a two-year research project to count visitors to the three system’s parks and trails. Coordination Among Partners funds have paid for this research project for the benefit of all. A data scientist was hired and is housed at the Metropolitan Council offices, working with support of their research team.
The scope of the project is to conduct a statewide analysis of parks and trails visitation, which for Greater Minnesota includes not only designated parks, but parks ranked “eligible for designation” as well.
The data used for the research has come from StreetLight Data, Inc., a company that aggregates vast amounts of anonymized data gathered from cell phones to algorithmically transform the inputs into contextualized, aggregated and normalized travel patterns. In plain speaking, they can deliver insight into how vehicles, bikes, pedestrians and transit passengers move on virtually every road and in every Census Block. This information provides the data scientists with ways to count visitors to our system parks and trails. Information that in many parks and trails in Greater Minnesota, we simply do not have.
While the date shows as May 13, 2022, the information has been updated as StreetLight Data has advanced with a recent algorithm update. Please know that the system park information study is complete, but trail research is still underway and will be released in the first quarter of 2023.
We invite you to review the report, check park visitation for your park or against other parks in the Greater Minnesota system or our partner agencies; Metropolitan Council Regional Parks and DNR State Parks.
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission coordinated a survey of three mountain bike systems in Greater Minnesota during the summer of 2021. The Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota was hired to conduct a visitor intercept survey and trail user counts at the Cook County Mountain Bike Trails, Duluth Traverse, and Detroit Mountain Recreation Area.
In this report you will find detailed information about the user counts and the visitor profiles for each system. The report begins with a trail county summary that provides a starting point to understand the unique differences and the similarities of the average daily traffic.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Renee Mattson, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Joe Czapiewski, System Plan Coordinator at email@example.com.
2021 Mountain Bike System Survey Cover Letter
2021 Trail Count Summary
Duluth Topline Report
Duluth Traverse Visitor Profile 2021
Cook County Topline Report
Cook County Visitor Profile 2021
Detroit Mountain Topline Report
Detroit Mountain Visitor Profile 2021
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 Trust for Public Land has released their ParkServe analysis tool, a comprehensive standardized database of local parks in nearly 14,000 cities, towns and communities across the U.S. ParkServe uses available GIS information to conduct an analysis of the distance between population and parks, defined as a 10 minute walkable service area among other criteria.
This analysis is a great tool for a broad look at the potential need for additional park space in your community, or to compare your community with others. We recommend using this as an initial analysis to explore your system, but also developing your own criteria that meets local public values for a more in-depth GIS analysis.
Park Serve Analysis Tool LINK
Economic Impact of New Residents in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine Counties
This report is an outcome of research being conducted into the attraction, retention, and significance of new residents in south and western Minnesota, particularly Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties.
Finding good data on the local and regional population is an important part of any planning process, including master plans for regional parks. The MN State Demographic Center has reports and resources to investigate trends in our archive of publications, locate featured presentations and data guidance, and discover training opportunities to deepen one’s knowledge of demographic topics and data tools. Link HERE.
This survey was administered to focus group participants in May and June, 2010.
The goal of the survey is to capture economic, social, and demographic characteristics of residents who have moved into the region. There were seven sessions held across seven communities of west central Minnesota.
A group of regional economic development professionals have come together to address the issue of regional recruitment. Specifically, this group is interested in strategies to retain higher skill, higher wage demographics that are contributing to the “brain gain” phenomenon illustrated in data provided by the University of Minnesota Extension. Data has shown that those in the age range of 35 – 45 years are seeking out rural lifestyles and actually bringing education and wealth into the region despite the significant losses from younger demographics leaving for school, which is commonly referred to as the “brain drain”. By developing strategies that attract and retain the “brain gain” demographic this effort will further diversify the region with higher skill, higher wage jobs and is likely to increase entrepreneurship and job creation that would fulfill niches in the region that are currently un-served or under served.
The Glass Half-Full: A New View of Rural Minnesota. Describing rural Minnesota can be a challenge. The structural changes we have witnessed in agriculture and manufacturing have certainly forced residents and decision makers to rethink our future. On top of this, literature is rife with descriptions of the loss of our children, the aging population, and outmigration. We believe this deficit view of our rural communities cannot continue to dominate our thinking about the future of our small towns.
Continuing the Trend: The Brain Gain of the Newcomers A GENERATIONAL ANALYSIS OF RURAL MINNESOTA MIGRATION, 1990 – 2010.
Using demographic analysis of data from the Decennial Censuses of 1990, 2000 and 2010, this report updates research that examines migration patterns in and out of rural areas by generational age cohorts. The study brings to light a little-examined phenomenon regarding the migration of people age 30 – 49 into rural areas across Minnesota
receive blog posts
in your email.