The GMRPTC held the April Commission meeting in Brainerd at the Northland Arboretum, a beautiful facility of more than 600 acres, located right in the heart of Brainerd. A lovely facility surrounded by acres of trees and wildlife.
Following the meeting we had the opportunity to tour one of Greater Minnesota’s designated parks, Milford Mine Memorial Park, located in Crow Wing County. The park is unique in the Greater Minnesota system. The park honors and preserves the memory of 41 miners who perished in the worst mine disaster in Minnesota.
On February 5, 1924, 48 miners were working their typical shift at the Milford underground mine at the 165 and 175-foot levels. Just 15 minutes from the end of their shift the mine was suddenly flooded with water and mud. And in less than 20 minutes the 200-foot deep mine shaft was filled to within 15 feet of the surface. Only seven of the 48 miners were able to make it to the surface, the other 41 men died in the accident.
The park is a beautiful tribute to the miners and serves as a stark reminder of the perils of underground mining. A beautiful boardwalk over the water that now covers the area of the mine. Along the boardwalk are planks etched with the name of each of the miners who died as well as the seven miners who survived the disaster.
Visitors traverse the boardwalk to the site of mining activities and the mine shaft that has been fenced off for safety but does not inhibit viewing. Building foundations have been uncovered and throughout the park interpretive plaques provide information and context about the site.
One of the most touching aspects are the plaques that describe each of the miners, their age, where they came from and most heart rendering, the details about who they left behind. Most of the miners were married and left behind not only grieving wives, but among them 88 fatherless children.
The park has been built in phases beginning in 2010 and completed in 2017. It’s a beautiful spot in nature and while it commemorates an awful tragedy, it also celebrates the lives of those lost.
When you’re next in the Brainerd Lakes area, or enjoying a ride at Cuyuna, take a little detour and visit this gem of a park.
The Gull Lake Trail, a Legacy-supported Regional trail planned to connect East Gull Lake to the Paul Bunyan Trail in Nisswa, received some great coverage in the Lake Country Journal. Thanks to all of the communities and champions who are working together to make this dream a reality!
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission will be hosting a series of FREE District Workshops across the state in late April and early May.
All park and trail managers, outdoor recreation advocates, city/county administrators, land commissioners, and others responsible for parks and trails in Greater Minnesota are encouraged to attend.
Each meeting will feature a special guest presenter from that District, highlighting a unique case study or special expertise from a regional park or trail in that District. Updates to the application system and new Master Plan training will also be a part of the agenda.
For more information, visit https://www.gmrptcommission.org/districtworkshops.html
or see the attached flyer.
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) announces the upcoming availability of funding application for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. All park and trail facilities in the GMRPTC System may begin their online applications on April 8, 2019. The application portal will close on August 2, 2019.
"We are excited to learn about the great projects cities and counties in the Greater Minnesota Regional System will be pursuing in their applications for funding," said Renee Mattson, Executive Director of the GMRPTC. "Last year we received 21 applications and were able to provide funding for 11 of them. That's nearly a dozen communities that will see significant improvement to their outdoor recreation facilities thanks to the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment."
There are some changes coming to this year's application system that potential applicants should note.
System Plan Coordinator Joe Czapiewski said, "Every year we learn from the previous year, making changes to our funding guidelines and adding tools or information to our application portal that will help applicants to be successful. Applicants should be sure to review the Funding Criteria and Guidelines carefully to make sure they understand it. They can also make sure of the extensive information and directions available at every point of the online application with the simple click of a button."
Applicants for Regionally Designated facilities will be able to start a funding application attached to their facility's Master Plan in the Data Management System, found HERE.
The recently updated Funding Guidelines and Criteria are attached, or can be found in the Application Toolbox HERE.
Additional tools, such as updated tutorials and application content guides, are in progress and should be available by the time the application portal opens. If you have any questions, please contact Czapiewski at email@example.com.
Since 2015, city and county parks and trails managers in Greater Minnesota have been using the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission’s Data Management System (DMS) to apply for designation to the regional system. The DMS is an online-only application portal that manages all three steps of the application process – Designation Applications, Master Plans, and Funding Applications.
The DMS can be found on the Commissions website here: https://www.gmrptcommission.org/applications.html.
Having an online application system has eliminated costly and confusing paper applications while providing more up to date and useful information for the user. “The online DMS portal gives us a way to make sure applicants have real time, on-screen access to the instructions and samples they need. Our goal is to help applicants be as successful as possible without barriers caused by the system itself,” said Joe Czapiewski, GMRPTC System Plan Coordinator. “Applicants are even encouraged to use the system’s messaging feature to more effectively stay in touch with Commission staff.”
Greater Minnesota cities and counties can access Legacy parks and trails funding through a three-step system. First, submit an application for designation as a regional park or trail in the DMS. This simple application asks you to describe how you think your park or trail meets the Commissions criteria for regional designation. Tutorials and guidelines for applications and master plans can be found in the Application Toolbox at https://www.gmrptcommission.org/application-toolbox.html. If you can’t find answers there, contact Commission staff for further assistance.
If the facility is found to have merit, applicants will then complete a qualified unit Master Plan. The purpose of the Master Plan is to lay out the vision and details necessary to fully score the plan against the criteria and to create a guide for the development of the park to its fullest potential. A number of new sample Master Plans have recently been uploaded to the application webpage. At the end of a thorough, multi-step evaluation, the Commission may designate the facility as a part of the regional system.
A successfully designated park or trail may then apply for funding. Funding applications are open on the portal starting approximately April 1st every year, and must be submitted by the end of July. Complete instructions, budget worksheets and a resolution template are available in the toolbox. Check out the Commission’s annual legislative report (https://www.gmrptcommission.org/2019-report.html) for more information about past funding recipients!
Questions? Please contact Commission staff or your Commissioners (https://www.gmrptcommission.org/commission-members.html) to find out more.
On a blustery February 6 evening, hundreds of folks gathered at the Minnesota History Center to celebrate the first ten years since the passing of the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.
The four Legacy funds – Parks and Trails, Clean Water, Outdoor Heritage and Arts & Cultural Heritage – had an opportunity to demonstrate the significant work each has done in their respective areas and gather feedback about how the public views these efforts.
The Parks and Trails partners, DNR, Metropolitan Council and GMRPTC, made a considerable effort during 2018 to “Celebrate, Education and Listen” at eight legacy events across the State, as well as the 12-day run of the Minnesota State Fair. The February 6 gathering was the first 10-Year Legacy event bringing all the funds together for an evening of reflection and highlights.
Legislators who worked on the ballot initiative language in the beginning, as well as legislators currently involved in the Legacy funds spoke and noted the magnitude of this historic achievement.
This attached summary report is a useful document that provides an overview of the work of each of the funds and highlights the collective benefits that have touched each county in the state in these first years.
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, together with its Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee partners the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Metropolitan Council, have released a new report marking the 10-year anniversary of the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.
The Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee (PTLAC) embarked on a series of regional public events to celebrate, educate, and listen as citizens shared their perspectives on, and aspirations for, Minnesota's comprehensive system of state and regional parks and trails.
By hosting nine regional events across the state, the PTLAC was able to celebrate the impact of Legacy funding with over 12,500 Minnesotans. In keeping with the spirit of Minnesota parks and trails, participants enjoyed activities that showcased the time of year and what made each site unique.
The report shares highlights of the celebrations across the state, summarizing the extensive efforts to share information about the impact of Legacy funding on the state's regional parks and trails system, and explains how what was learned will impact priorities and decisions for the next 15 years of Legacy funding.
Read the report below.
The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission has announced grant recommendations for the FY2020 funding cycle.
Of the 59 regionally designated parks and trails in the Greater Minnesota system, the Commission received 21 applications and selected 11 projects totaling $8,639,258 to recommend for legislative approval.
See the full press release and recommendation list below.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced 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. Information about each of the grants can be found at this link provided by our friends at the League of Minnesota Cities.
Current Grant Opportunities
That’s right, the partners in the Legacy Amendment Parks and Trails fund; Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, Metropolitan Council and DNR will be sharing space in the DNR building at the State Fair and continuing our mission to:
Celebrate * Education * Listen
During this 10th year of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment we partnered to host a series of eight celebrations in communities across the State. Now we promote our message to the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the DNR building during the 12-days that Minnesotans celebrate the end of summer and the coming fall harvest.
We’ll be in the theatre of the DNR building for 2018 and 2019. Please come visit and say hello when you’re at the fair. The exhibit design is such that we can take elements of the display on the road to various communities for the next year, let us know if there is an event that might be appropriate in your community.
We’ll see you at the Fair!
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