April 25, 2016

Legislative Alert: Urge your legislators to include parks and trails in bonding bills

Legislators are starting to assemble bonding bills, and your voice is critical to ensure they remember to include Minnesota’s parks and trails. If legislators don’t hear parks and trails are important to people, much needed funding may not get passed.

Email or call legislative leadership today! In the House, the best legislators to contact are Capital Investment Chair Rep. Paul Torkelson and House Speaker Kurt Daudt. In the Senate, the best legislators to contact are Capital Investment Chair Sen. LeRoy Stumpf and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Reaching out to your local legislators, and urging them to speak to these leaders on your behalf, is always a good idea too.

Just some of the repairs needed across Minnesota’s parks and trails (Photos from MnDNR)

When you contact legislative leadership, urge them to include the following in the 2016 bonding bill:

  • Asset Preservation for State Parks and Trails: Minnesota’s state parks turned 125 years old this month. Tell legislators funding is needed across the board, including $40 million for system-wide rehabilitation, $10 million for renovations at Itasca State Park, $7 million for campground renovations, and $500,000 for prairie restoration projects.
  • Local Grant Programs: $5 million in funding for the Local Trails Connection and Outdoor Recreation Grant Programs needs to be included in the bonding bill. These programs have been significantly underfunded in recent years and are needed to fund crucial park and trail projects that aren’t eligible for Legacy funding.
  • Metropolitan Regional Park & Trail Funding: The Twin Cities Metropolitan Area’s park and trail system is the envy of the nation, and continued funding is essential to maintain, develop, and expand the world-class system. $11 million is needed for system-wide capital investment projects, including rehabilitation, land acquisition, and new development.

To see details on our entire 2016 legislative agenda, click here.

And as always, you can keep track of individual pieces of legislation by checking our bill tracker.

   Trail Projects!   

Parks & Trails Council’s legislative agenda identifies 13 important trail projects that are ready to be funded. Funding these individual trail projects will be difficult unless local legislators reach out to legislative leadership to say they need their trail in the bonding bill. Now is a great time to contact your local legislator(s) and urge them to speak to House and Senate leadership about funding your trail.

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