Bill Tracker

During each session of the Minnesota Legislature we track key bills affecting parks and trails.
Updates on these key bills are posted here.

Cartoon of "I'm Just a Bill"

2019 Legislative Session

The 2019 Legislative Session begins January 5 and we will be tracking bills as they are introduced.

Past Years' Bills Below

2018

Click or hover over image to view more details.

Turkeys cross the Munger Trail

Chester Woods: trail development

AMT FUNDED
Chester Woods: trail development

Build a trail connecting Rochester to Chester Woods Regional Park

Bicyclists riding at underpass

Gateway State Trail: Tunnel Crossing

AMT FUNDED
Gateway State Trail: Tunnel Crossing

Improve user safety by constructing a tunnel for the trail to cross under Hadley Ave, which is challenging to cross because the street exceeds 8,000 vehicles per day.

bicyclists on Gitchi Gami with Lake Superior in back

Gitchi-Gami: trail development

AMT FUNDED
Gitchi-Gami: trail development

Build a 1.2-mile trail extension into Tofte.

Sketch of proposed Glendalough Trailhead

Glendalough: center & trailhead

AMT FUNDED
Glendalough: center & trailhead

Project Overview: A new park visitor center and trail center at Glendalough State Park.

Goodhue Pioneer: trail development

AMT FUNDED
Goodhue Pioneer: trail development

Acquire approximately 60 acres located along the legislatively authorized Goodhue-Pioneer State Trail.

Harmony-Preston: trail development

AMT FUNDED
Harmony-Preston: trail development

Project Overview: Extend the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail to Niagara Cave and Iowa border.

Campers settling in at new campground at Lake Vermilion

Lake Vermilion: park development

AMT FUNDED
Lake Vermilion: park development

For development including the Lake Lodge Visitor Center, the campground, renewable energy facilities, and reconstruction of the mine shaft.

Native yellow sunflowers in a field

Local Projects: grants

AMT FUNDED
Local Projects: grants

Grants for regional and local parks and trails to fund four grant programs that have historically been managed by the MnDNR:

Bikers on the Mesabi Trail

Mesabi: trail extension

AMT FUNDED
Mesabi: trail extension

Develop a 3.5-mile segment of the Mesabi Trail from County Road 88 into Ely, Minn.

clouds

Metro Projects: capitol improvements

AMT FUNDED
Metro Projects: capitol improvements

To improve and expand Metropolitan Regional Parks and Trails

boy biycling along trail

Mill Towns: trail development

AMT FUNDED
Mill Towns: trail development

For acquisition and design of the Mill Towns State Trail between the cities of Faribault and Waterford.

Bison at Minneopa State Park September 2017 by Sheryl Hindermann

Minneopa: land acquisition

AMT FUNDED
Minneopa: land acquisition

To acquire 80 acres within Minneopa State Park along a key habitat corridor

Mississippi Blufflands: trail development

AMT FUNDED
Mississippi Blufflands: trail development

Build ~3/4-mile trail segment along Red Wing’s riverfront from Barn Bluff to Colvill Park.

Three men putting trash in dumpster

Sibley: land acquisition

AMT FUNDED
Sibley: land acquisition

Incorporate 16 acres of land within Sibley State Park that Parks & Trails Council purchased in 2017 and worked with Sibley State Park Improvement Association to restore.

Accessible picnic table at Jay Cooke. Deborah Rose/MnDNR

State Parks: accessibility enhancements

AMT FUNDED
State Parks: accessibility enhancements

Design and construction of improvements to bring the facilities within state parks and recreation areas to the Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

State Parks: forest restoration

AMT FUNDED
State Parks: forest restoration

Restore 255 acres of forested native plant communities in several state parks.

State Parks: rehab

AMT FUNDED
State Parks: rehab

Renew state park visitor facilities that have fallen into disrepair.

biker on Sakatah trail in need of repair

State Trails: rehabilitation

AMT FUNDED
State Trails: rehabilitation

To repair state trails.

Hiker amidst tall trees on the Superior HIking Trail

Superior Hiking: trail enhancements

AMT FUNDED
Superior Hiking: trail enhancements

Planning for enhancement projects and creating a map-based inventory, and updating trail maintenance standards.

Paddleboat and fall foliage

Swedish Immigrant: trail extension

AMT FUNDED
Swedish Immigrant: trail extension

Connect trail to Interstate State Park by extending it with a 0.5-mile segment that includes a 180-foot bridge and trailhead

newly paved segment of Wagon Wheel Trail

Wagon Wheel: trail extension

AMT FUNDED
Wagon Wheel: trail extension

Extend trail to the river by building a trail bridge and safety improvements, connecting downtown La Crescent to the Mississippi River.

Click or hover over image to view more details.

Frontenac: boundary expansion

AMT FUNDED
Frontenac: boundary expansion

Expand the statutory boundary of Frontenac State Park to include the land Parks & Trails Council acquired for the park.

Click or hover over box to view more details.

ATVs in state parks

Last Action:

Allows the operation of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in Hayes Lake State Park Campground, and directs the commissioner of natural resources to provide ATV access routes to said campgrounds.

Blazing Star: trail extension

Last Action:

Complete a 6-mile trail connection between the city of Albert Lea into Myre-Big Island State Park and to the city of Hayward.

Cannon Valley: trail improvements

Last Action:

For improvements to trail access facilities and storm water infrastructure.

Faribault-Northern Links: trail connection

Last Action:

Connect Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail with Faribault’s city trails that lead to the downtown area.

Frontenac: land acquisition

Last Action:

Acquire the 159 acres of restored blufflands that Parks & Trails Council purchased and is holding in trust for the park.

Gitchi Gami: trail development

Last Action:

Build a 1.5 mile trail extension into Lutsen, plus planning and design costs for other segments.

Goodhue Pioneer: trail development

Last Action:

For acquisition and development of the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail from Zumbrota to Red Wing.

Heartland: trail spur

Last Action:

Predesign and engineering of a 25-mile spur of the Heartland State Trail that will connect Itasca State Park to Park Rapids.

Local Grants

Last Action:

Grants for regional and local parks and trails to fund four grant programs that have historically been managed by the MnDNR:

Mississippi Blufflands: trail planning

Last Action:

Trail development and planning for the proposed Mississippi Blufflands State Trail.

2017

There were a few disappointments in the 2017 session, but overall parks and trails fared better than had been feared a few weeks before the end of session. A big thank you to everyone who reached out to their legislators and gave parks and trails a voice.

Summary of bills introduced

The following bills were passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Dayton during the 2017 session.

 

Bonding Bill

Passed:

Bonding Bill

The final piece of the 2017 budget agreement was a $988 million bonding bill (HF 5), which passed in the wee hours on the last day of session. The bonding bill funds building and infrastructure projects, including park and trail projects. Specifically, the bill includes: ...

Legacy Funds Appropriation Bill

Passed:

Legacy Funds Appropriation Bill

Legacy Funds The Legacy Bill (HF 707) appropriates revenues from the Legacy Amendment. The bill appropriates $88 million from the Parks and Trails Fund over the next two years, of which 40% is available for state parks and trails, 40% is available for regional parks ...

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund

Passed:

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund

The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund bill (SF 550) appropriates revenues from the Minnesota Lottery dedicated to protect, conserve…

Omnibus Budget Bill

Passed:

Omnibus Budget Bill

The Omnibus Environment Budget (SF 844) sets the two year budget for state park and trail operations. The good news is the budget should provide sufficient funding to avoid staffing and service cutbacks in state parks and trails, thanks to a key last-minute concession won by Gov. Dayton that ...

Trail Fee Requirement

Last Action:
Bill would make it a misdemeanor to hike or bike on state-sponsored trails without paying a fee. Bill Numbers: HF 929 House Authors: Gruenhagen Senate Authors: NA Update: House File introduced on 2/9/17 and referred to Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance. Back to Bill Tracker

2016

Summary of bills introduced

The following bills were passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Dayton during the 2016 session.

 

Supplemental Budget Bill

Passed:

Supplemental Budget Bill

This bill increases state park and trail funding in FY 2017 by $5.1 million. It includes $2.8 million general funds and $2.3 million from the State Parks Account. Reserves $1.2 million for state park acquisition. Bill Numbers: HF 2749 & SF 2356 (side-by-side comparison) Official Bill Title: Omnibus supplemental budget bills. House ...

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (LCCMR)

Passed:

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (LCCMR)

Appropriated funds from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund for projects that benefit Minnesota’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. The following portion of the appropriated funds benefitted parks and trails: $1,200,000 for continued development of the Mesabi Regional Trail $679,000 for a ...

The following bills were drafted and introduced into the legislature, but for various reasons they were either not passed by the Minnesota Legislature or not signed into law by the Governor. They could attempt to be revived in subsequent years.

 

Bonding Bill

Last Action:
No bonding bill was passed during the 2016 session. Progress was made in crafting the bill but did not make it through final approval. The stalled bill (HF 622) would have been a mixed bag for parks and trails. On the positive side, the bill would ...

Trail Fee Requirement

Last Action:
This would have made it a misdemeanor to bike, skate, walk, or jog on a state-supported trail without first purchasing a pass. Bill Number(s): HF 2947 & SF 2312 House Author(s): Gruenhagen; Urdahl Senate Authors(s): Newman; Chamberlain Description: House Update: Introduced on 3/10/16 and referred to Mining & Outdoor Recreation Senate Update: Introduced on 3/8/16 and referred to Environment ...

2015

Summary of bills introduced

The following bills were passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Dayton during the 2015 session.

 

New Trail Authorized: Mississippi Blufflands

Passed:

New Trail Authorized: Mississippi Blufflands

This bill authorizes the establishment of a new state trail originating at the Cannon Valley Trail in Red Wing, MN and extending southeasterly along the Mississippi River through Frontenac State Park and ending in Lake City, MN. Additionally, the bill appropriates $50,000 to develop a …

Legacy Funds Appropriated

Passed:

Legacy Funds Appropriated

This bill appropriates revenues from the Legacy Amendment that voters approved in 2008. The bill appropriates $89 million for parks and trails for FY 2016 -17. Of this amount, 40% is allocated to Minnesota State Parks and Trails, 40% is allocated to Metropolitan Regional Parks …

Budget Bill

Passed:

Budget Bill

This omnibus appropriations bill allocated $48.6 million in general funds for operations and maintenance of Minnesota State Parks and Trails. This is a 23% increase from FY 2014-15. Additionally, the omnibus bill includes many policy/technical provisions affecting Minnesota’s parks and trails. Full title: Omnibus agriculture, environment ...

Trail Extension for Harmony-Preston Valley

Passed:

Trail Extension for Harmony-Preston Valley

This bill authorizes the DNR to extend the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail to the Iowa border, with a connection to Niagara Cave. Official Bill Title: Fillmore, Olmsted, Winona, and Houston Counties; Blufflands Trail system modified Bill Number: HF 49 / SF 57 House Author: Davids Senate …

Lottery Proceeds Allocated

Passed:

Lottery Proceeds Allocated

This bill appropriated $46 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund for projects across Minnesota. The following portion of this bill was appropriated to parks and trails projects: $1.5 million for land acquisition for State Parks and Trails $1 million for land acquisition …

The following bills were drafted and introduced into the legislature, but for various reasons they were either not passed by the Minnesota Legislature or not signed into law by the Governor. They could attempt to be revived in subsequent years.

 

Eminent Domain Prohibition

Last Action:

Two separate efforts were made to introduce bills that would have prohibited the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund to be spent to acquire property by eminent domain or to acquire property that has previously been acquired by eminent domain. Full title: Parks and trails fund usage …

Trail Fee Requirement

Last Action:

Would have required all adults to purchase a pass to bike or roller blade on a state trail in Minnesota. The bill proposed the rates of the pass at $4 per day or $20 per year. Full Title: Bicycle and roller blade pass requirement established, …

Require Approval to Add Parkland

Last Action:

This bill would have required that the DNR, prior to acquiring lands for a park or trail outside the seven-county metropolitan area, receive written approval of every city and organized township where the park or trail is located or through which it passes. Bill Title: Local …

Funding for Casey Jones State Trail

Last Action:

This bill would have appropriated $846,000 in bond proceeds for the continued development of the Casey Jones State Trail in southwestern Minnesota. Bill title: Casey Jones Trail funding provided, bonds issued, and money appropriated Bill Number: HF 641 & SF 581 House Authors: Schomacker; Hamilton; Swedzinski Senate …