Arielle Courtney by BWCA Wilderness Sign
June 28, 2019

Meet DNR’s New Parks and Trails Partnership Consultant

The DNR has created a new staff position—Parks & Trails Partnership Consultant—that will invest energy in variety of partner-related initiatives across the state. Arielle Courtney takes on that role, transitioning from her position at the DNR as a Principal Planner. Parks & Trails Council looks forward to working with her in our efforts to connect with and support friends groups of state parks and trails. Read on for a note from Arielle.

Hello! My name is Arielle Courtney and I am the DNR’s new Parks and Trails Partnership Consultant. In this role, I will be coordinating with Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota to re-energize, organize, and support friends groups for state parks and trails around Minnesota.

What does this new position mean for you as a friends group?

  • I am your direct connection to DNR in St. Paul for friends-related matters.
  • I can work with your group and your local DNR contact to explore new ideas and opportunities.
  • I can provide clarity about policies and processes that may be confusing.
  • I will keep you posted about what is going on with state parks and trails that may be useful.

Friends groups bring amazing resources, expertise, and ideas to our state parks and trails system, and it would not be the same without you. Thank you!

Please let me know what kind of information you would like to see from the DNR in future e-newsletters by sending me an e-mail at or call me at 651-259-5609.

Arielle standing at the headwaters of the Mississippi River

Arielle visiting the headwaters of the Mississippi

Upcoming site visits

I am hoping to get out to different parts of the state and talk to you and our local DNR staff about your achievements, what works well, what challenges or frustrations you have, and what you would like to do in the future. I will be joining Friends Group Coordinator Ashley Pethan from the Parks & Trail Council on a few of her site visits in Northeast and Northwest Minnesota this July and August, but please let me know if you’d like to connect.

What is in store for the future?

Many other states have robust and highly organized statewide friends programs and offer added support and resources to groups. Parks & Trails Council is already elevating our game in Minnesota by providing regional friends group workshops and a variety of resources. In the future, we are exploring the possibility of offering new groups information and technical assistance that allows them to easily “start-up” and maintain momentum over time.

In the meantime, we hope to see you at the regional friends group workshops so we can learn from each other and share resources.

I hope everyone has a safe and nature-filled Fourth of July holiday. Happy trails!

Content by: Arielle Courtney, Minnesota DNR

About Ashley Pethan