Parks and Trails Legacy Funding Project

Completed May 2013

Minnesota has a world-class network of parks and trails providing access to pristine lakes and rivers, prairies, forests, paved trails, horse trails, and off-road areas. In 2008, Minnesota voters chose to invest in these resources and passed the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. The Legacy Amendment is funded by a three-eighths of one percent state sales tax.

The Parks and Trails Legacy Fund may only support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance. Prior to 2013, there was not full agreement on how best to allocate these funds among major state and regional providers: Metropolitan Regional Parks and TrailsGreater Minnesota Parks and Trails, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The 2011 State Legislature directed the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources to convene and facilitate a working group of nine members to develop consensus recommendations for the allocation of the parks and trails fund. (Laws of Minnesota, 2011 First Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 3, Section 7(f)).

Environmental Initiative partnered with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to facilitate this process. The goal of the project was to develop consensus recommendations and accompanying rationale to serve as a model for funding allocations for the FY 2014-2015 biennium and beyond.

The Work Group agreed on a six year, interm strategy to allocate Parks and Trails Legacy Fund dollars between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails, and Metropolitan Regional Parks and Trails.

Their proposal was presented to executive and legislative branch members. The Legacy Bill was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in May 2013 with the spirit of the Work Group’s agreement for the parks and trails portion of the fund reflected in the legislation.