Updated Strategic Plan Now Available to Guide Future Development of Greater Minnesota's Regional Parks and Trails
For additional information, contact System Plan Coordinator Joe Czapiewski at firstname.lastname@example.org or Executive Director Renee Mattson at email@example.com.
(May 13, 2021 – DULUTH, Minn.) – An updated strategic plan for guiding future development of Greater Minnesota’s regional parks and trails, including ensuring those areas are inviting and accessible to underserved communities, is now available to the public from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC).
Established in 2013, the Commission identifies regionally significant parks and trails in Minnesota’s 80 counties outside the seven-county metropolitan area and provides grant recommendations to the State Legislature. Funding comes from the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund, part of the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment approved by state voters in 2008.
“Many people have worked hard to build a system of regional parks and trails that all Minnesotans can be proud of,” said GMRPTC Board Chair Thomas Ryan, adding that to date the organization has designated 64 parks and trails as regionally significant. “This updated strategic plan ensures we have consistent, detailed criteria for creating a seamless outdoor recreation system that integrates with those of our partners at the Department of Natural Resources and Metropolitan Council Regional Parks.”
This 86-page plan, filled with photos, maps and graphs, is designed to help local parks and trails agencies around Greater Minnesota develop effective proposals for regional designation and funding. As more agencies prepare their initial or updated Master Plans, they can look to this strategic plan for clearer standards and tools that will help tell their regional story. The plan includes criteria for making parks and trails inviting and accessible to underserved communities and people with mobility or other challenges, identifies new ways of monitoring and measuring success, and more.
The entire strategic plan may be found at www.gmrptcommission.org. Citizens may also ask to have a printed version mailed to them by contacting GMRPTC Executive Director Renee Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Achieving designation requires an applicant to work through a detailed process that ensures each park or trail is of the quality Minnesotans and visitors expect when enjoying regionally significant facilities. The strategic plan provides guidance to help applicants think broadly and boldly about not only what the facility is now, but what it could be,” said Mattson.
She added that the GMRPTC will hold a series of online workshops in June to help agencies understand the new plan’s contents. Information about workshop times and dates is at https://www.gmrptcommission.org/2021-district-workshops.html.
Since its inception, the GMRPTC has awarded more than $52 million in grants to regional parks and trails across Greater Minnesota. Combined with $20 million in community investments, grants are used to fund infrastructure improvements, land acquisitions, new facilities, trail rehabilitation and more.
LeSeuer County's Lake Washington Regional Park, a part of the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails system, was recently placed on the GMRPTC's recommendation list for Fiscal Year 2021 Legacy Funds.
A number of improvements are planned for the increasingly popular park. Local TV station KEYC in Mankato covered the story. See HERE for more details.
There is no doubt that volunteer organizations are helping to make many Greater Minnesota parks and trails a reality. Whether helping raise funds for construction or organizing clean up work crews, many of our facilities wouldn't be what they are without dedicated local volunteer support.
Minnesota Public Radio has shared this fantastic look at how volunteers are making a difference at several parks and trails statewide, including many regionally significant partners of the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. A shout out as well to our Executive Director, Renee Mattson, who was interviewed for this article.
MPR: In Duluth, skiers (and bikers, hikers, climbers and others) step up to build trails
Greater Minnesota is filled with opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature - even in the winter!
Here's a great article on how and where you can find mountain biking opportunities all year long - including a few of our Greater Minnesota regional facilities!
How Minnesotans Bike All Year Long - Even in Winter
Are you interested in mountain biking, but aren't sure where to start? Do you need a way to explain the basics of mountain biking to new riders?
Here's a great primer on the sport of mountain biking from Nature Sport Central. We hope you'll find it useful!
How to Start Mountain Biking
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.
“Our research shows that the more cycling people do — whether it’s recreational riding or commuting — the lower their risk for cardiovascular risk factors like obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol,” says lead author Professor Mark Pereira.
The reduction in risk translates to preventing 12-61 deaths per year and annually saves the state’s economy $100-500 million.
READ MORE HERE
The new MN Great Outdoors website is a joint initiative of Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, MN DNR and Metropolitan Council. After almost two years of planning and construction, the new site was launched on June 12, 2018!
The website will make trip planning easy and provide a great way to filter a search based on location, accessibility, amenities and features. Once a search is complete, the site provides the parks or trails that fit the parameters and users simply click through to the individual websites for more detail and planning assistance.
The site provides a comprehensive database of State Parks and Trails, Metropolitan Council Parks and Trails and all Greater Minnesota designated parks and trails, along with snowmobile and ATV trails.
One of the primary benefits to the designated facilities in Greater Minnesota is the ability for city and county facilities with smaller marketing budgets to gain greater exposure to a much larger audience of park and trail enthusiasts. To date the site includes 184 parks and 419 trails! The new site is a win for all involved, and we’re excited to announce the launch at the start of the busy travel season.
CANNON FALLS, Minn. -- U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has designated the Cannon Valley Trail in southeastern Minnesota as a national
The Cannon Valley Trail is one of 19 newly designated national recreation trails in 17 states announced Wednesday. Zinke says the designations recognize the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone. The announcement adds more than 370 miles to the National Recreation Trails system of more than 1,000 pathways.
The 19.7 - mile Cannon Valley Trail opened in 1986. It runs through diverse and spectacular scenery along an old rail bed along the Cannon River, connecting the cities of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing. It's open year-round for hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, and cross-country skiing. It attracts close to 100,000 visits per year.The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission has classified the Cannon Valley Trail as a trail of regional significance in Greater Minnesota.
Complete article: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-zinke-announces-19-new-national-recreation-trails-17-states
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
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