DNR Update: MOUs for Friends Groups

An update from Arielle Courtney, DNR

Greetings, Friends partners! As we round out the summer, I wanted to share a couple of DNR updates with you and THANK YOU for everything you all have contributed to state parks and trails and to our visitors this season. I had a chance to visit the Tettegouche State Park nature play area in July, and it is clear how much passion and dedication you all have for making state parks and trails the best they can be.

Friends Group MOU Update

We are making incremental progress towards having a template Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) available for all the state park and trail Friends groups. As part of this process, we would like to engage a few Friends group leaders to offer constructive feedback. I’ve asked our DNR Parks and Trails Division regional managers to suggest a few individuals or groups that may be interested in providing input, but I’d also like to share the opportunity here.

We view this new Friends group MOU template as:

  • A helpful tool to get both the DNR and Friends groups on the same page about their roles, responsibilities, and commitments to one another.
  • A way to improve communication between DNR and Friends groups so that neither party is surprised about decisions or project ideas.
  • A mechanism for accountability – this is as beneficial for Friends groups as it is for DNR – if we agree to work together on something, it is expected that both parties will fully participate.
  • An opportunity to resolve any conflict before it even arises with clearly laid out do’s and don’ts for both DNR and Friends groups.
  • A way to standardize how DNR works with the variety of Friends groups statewide. This doesn’t mean we want Friends groups to all be the same, but it ensures we are treating all the groups equally and with the same approach.

If you’d like to provide written feedback or participate in a meeting when the template Friends group MOU is available in September/October, please send me an e-mail at Arielle.courtney@state.mn.us.

Upcoming September Events

As most of you probably already know, the next Free Park Day is Saturday, September 9. You can find more information on our website. National Public Lands Day is also coming up on Saturday, September 23. This is a great opportunity to hold volunteer events or pitch in to existing opportunities. You can find other opportunities to participate in National Public Lands Day events on the National Environmental Education Foundation website as well.

Thanks and be well,

Arielle Courtney



DNR Parks & Trails Partnership Development Consultant




Image description: “Autumn takes a firm hold at Glendalough State Park.” Photo credit: Brian Kays/P&TC Photo Contest