Since the ’90s, Chisago County Parks & Trails Foundation has played a critical role in developing trails in the county. Their efforts to spread awareness, promote the benefits of trails, and raise money have contributed to the development of the Sunrise Prairie Trail and Swedish Immigrant Trail. Today, they continue this work and help to improve the trail experience by participating in a pollinator planting campaign.
Over the years, the Foundation members have built strong relationships with local elected officials and agency leadership. Through these relationships, the group has communicated the inherent benefits that come along with trail development—recreational, economic, health, and community safety. Laird Mork, former county parks Director and now Foundation President, highlighted that the group’s advocacy, promotion, and fundraising were a crucial component that launched trail projects forward in the county. By raising local match funds from the community, the projects were able to secure LCCMR and federal funding to move forward. The Foundation continues to raise funds and advocate for trail projects.
In addition to that, they are also involved in a project to increase pollinator habitat along the Swedish Immigrant Trail. Partnering with the Rotary, Chisago Lakes Middle School, the National Park Service, and other entities, they are collectively working to build awareness, pollinator gardens, and educational resources for everyone to enjoy along the trail. Native flower gardens and public art will help to create pollinator habitat and beautify the community. While there are many sites along the trail for this project, the Foundation secured a grant from P&TC to partner with the Middle School to work with the students to plant gardens and install some of their art. A garden installation event is planned for this fall.