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
The Minnesota Secretary of State's Office has announced hundreds of open seats on a wide ranging set of State boards, councils, and commissions. A full list of the available positions can be found HERE.
Included in that list are several positions on the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. Potential applicants may apply for a position to represent their District, or apply for the At-Large position. Learn more about the available positions and applications HERE. The list of current Commission members can be found on the Commission's website.
For more information, please contact GMRPTC Executive Director Renee Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
From the MN DNR, September 30, 2019
Apply starting Oct. 23 for funding aimed to increase outdoor experience, education and stewardship
Lifelong lessons and care for Minnesota’s tremendous outdoor heritage start with quality time outdoors. The Department of Natural Resources is offering a new grant program called “No Child Left Inside” to help more children cast a fishing line, study animal tracks, hike or bike, or simply learn more about nature.
“We’re excited to be putting some funding toward getting kids outdoors. The time is now,” said Jeff Ledermann, DNR’s education and skills team supervisor. “Minnesotans care deeply about the outdoors. Kids in past decades were outdoors early and often, but that’s not a given anymore so these grants are here to boost outdoor programs and initiatives all around the state.”
Public entities and nonprofit organizations serving youth under age 18 are eligible to apply for this first phase of the grant program, which features a simple application and a quick review. In the first phase, $182,000 is available for programs all around Minnesota. The minimum request is $500 and the maximum is $5,000. Future phases of the grant program will have larger grant awards with more extensive application and review processes.
Applications can be submitted starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, and awards will be made on a rolling basis. Matching dollars are encouraged but not required. The application period will close once all the money is awarded. The earliest date to start reimbursable project work is Sunday, Dec. 1, and the reimbursable grant project work must be completed by Monday, June 1, 2020.
“We’re urging folks to be creative in how they approach getting youth outdoors and if in doubt, please apply for these grants,” Ledermann said. “We’re anticipating a strong response from people who work with youth every day—we know they have great ideas.”
The 2019 Minnesota Legislature authorized the No Child Left Inside grant program. Funding can be used for outdoor recreation equipment, transportation and related natural resource education expenses. Factors the DNR will consider in determining awards include whether the project:
GMRPTC District 2 Commissioner Bryan Pike recently visited Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls. Ramsey Park is one of 61 regionally-significant parks or trails designated by the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.
Which regional parks or trails have you visited recently?
Explore Minnesota's system of regional and state parks at https://mn.gov/greatoutdoors/
The National Park Service announces that it is now taking applications for community assistance in planning park, trail and conservation projects through its Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Apply by June 30th to receive technical assistance with project elements, such as: park & trail planning, visioning & goal setting, partnership building, organizational development, resource analysis, community outreach, facilitation, priority setting, consensus building, and developing funding strategies.
If accepted, your project team will receive a year or more of assistance from an experienced Outdoor Recreation Planner at no cost. Local, regional & state governments and non profit organizations as well as informal community groups are welcome to apply. More information is available on the attached video and on the links to our website, or contact Holly Larson at: email@example.com or 651-293-8444.
Five Minute Introductory Video
The Minnesota State Trail User Count is an ongoing project of the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota (P&TC), a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring, protecting and enhancing critical land for the public's use and benefit.
The data in this report was collected during 2017 on five state trails: the Gateway State Trail and Brown's Creek State Trail in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, the Paul Bunyan State Trail between Brainerd and Walker, and the Root River State Trail and Harmony-Preston State Trail in southeast Minnesota.
Read the full report here.
Do you have a trail in need of data on how it’s used?
If so, the Parks & Trails Council (P&TC) is interested in partnering with you. P&TC has been conducting trail counts since 2015 and is looking to help cities and counties in Greater Minnesota better understand how their trails are used. P&TC will provide a trail counting plan, counting equipment, and a trail usage report summarizing the season's data. This is a great opportunity for cities and counties that want data on their trails but don't have the resources or expertise to collect it themselves.
Anyone interested in partnering with P&TC during 2019 should start by filling out this online survey. Please complete the survey by Tuesday, May 14. Applicants will be notified by May 17.
Please know that P&TC will likely be able to select only one or two projects for 2019, but hopes to expand their services in future years to partner with additional cities and counties across Minnesota.
For more information, please visit www.parksandtrails.org and search "Research & Reports" or contact P&TC Research and Policy Manager Andrew Oftedal at 651-726-2457.
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.
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