Legislators map out 25-year plan for Minn. parks and trails

Legislators have been given a 25-year plan for parks and trails in Minnesota that describes how money from the Legacy Amendment and other state funds should be invested to ensure continued excellence in state parks and trails.

The DNR gathered citizen input to describe how Minnesota can provide world-class parks and trails to the next generation.

The DNR's Courtland Nelson said it calls for better coordination among governments, and among the four categories of Legacy spending.

"It makes all the sense in the world if we're doing some component of land protection within a state park, that should have an opportunity to be evaluated by the Lessard-Sams Council," Nelson said. "Similarly, we have a number of public programming issues that could be enhanced by arts and culture investment."

The plan identifies four major strategies -- connecting people with the outdoors, acquiring land and creating new opportunities for park use, investing in existing infrastructure, and coordinating all levels of government and nonprofit groups.

Nelson said the DNR is boosting its efforts to reach out to young people and groups that don't have a habit of using parks.

DFL Rep. Mary Murphy was among the speakers at the ceremony. She said she worked for years to get one state park established.

"We know that nothing comes easy, but everybody loves the parks and trails," Murphy said.

The DNR is beefing up its public relations efforts, with a new communications chief and veteran outdoorsman Bob Lessard assigned to community outreach.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.