Advocacy News

Parks & Trails Council's Research Bike
March 10, 2021
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House Legislative committee hears our case for state trail rehab

On Tuesday, our staff presented at the House Capital Investment Committee to share our State of the Trails report.
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February 1, 2021
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2021 Legislative Session underway

State park fee increases proposed in governor's budget Lawmakers convened the 2021 legislative session in early January in what will be one of the more unusual yet consequential sessions in recent memory. Legislators have a short but complex list of tasks: battling the ongoing COVID-19 ...
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Entrance sign to park
October 29, 2020
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Portion of Lake Vermilion State Park opens to OHVs

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) advocates have been pushing to open up state parks to ATVs for years, and in 2020 their focus was on Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park in northeast Minnesota.
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Minnesota State Capitol
October 29, 2020
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Bonding bill passes, key parks and trails projects funded

Minnesota's Legislative Session was unprecedented, which is to say, it fit perfectly into the year 2020. For most of the year, the much anticipated bonding bill was stalled. It didn't get passed in regular session (Feb - May), nor in the June, July, August, or September special sessions. Then, finally, in October, during the fifth special session, the House and Senate passed a massive, $1.9 billion bonding bill, which was signed by Gov. Walz on Oct. 22. The bill funds a wide variety of items from roads, affordable housing, and college buildings to parks and trails projects.
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icon of person digging
July 28, 2020
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Stalled bonding bills leaves key projects unlikely this year

The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up their second special session on July 21 without passing a much anticipated public construction package, which would have funded numerous park and trail projects. Now, all hope rests on a third special session, which Gov. Walz will likely call in August to extend his peacetime emergency powers.
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image of a report cover
May 21, 2020
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Legislature adjourns with much at stake in Special Session

When the Legislature adjourned on May 18, it did so without passing either a Bonding bill or a LCCMR bill – two of the most critical items of interest to all Parks & Trails advocates and supporters. Disagreements over the pandemic response and the size …

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May 18, 2020
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Status of 2020 Legislative Priority – Investing in metropolitan regional parks and trails

One of our priorities during the 2020 Legislature is to supports the Metropolitan Council’s request for state bonding funds, which are partially matched by the Metropolitan Council, to improve and expand the Metropolitan Regional Parks System.. Legislative Process Status FormatDateAmountDocMetropolitan CouncilRequestJanuary 2020$15 millionPDFGov. Tim WalzRecommendationJanuary ...
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Minnesota State Capitol
May 6, 2020
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Time to urge legislators to support parks and trails

Now that the four Minnesota House and Senate caucus leaders have agreed to a midnight, Saturday, May 9 deadline for bills, we are expecting a flurry of activity as lawmakers race to complete a long list of priorities, including the omnibus bonding and tax bills. Of particular interest will be whether or not the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate can reconcile significant partisan differences to pass these bills.
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April 7, 2020
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Legislative efforts focused on COVID-19, but bonding bill could still happen later in session

The 2020 legislative session isn’t turning out the way any of us expected. COVID-19 has altered all aspects of daily life in Minnesota (and around the world), and that includes Parks & Trails Council’s advocacy efforts at the state capitol. As you know, this is a rapidly changing situation and many people across our state agencies, legislature, and governor’s office are working hard to respond to this unprecedented emergency.
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June 5, 2019
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Hayes Lake State Park saved from an OHV campground

After a lengthy public-input and planning process that was designed to weigh the best location for an off-highway vehicle (OHV) campground in Northwestern Minnesota, the MnDNR is recommending the best location as Beltrami Island State Forest rather than Hayes Lake State Park.
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Minnesota State Capitol Dome
June 5, 2019
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2019 Legislative Session Recap

The 2019 Legislative Session wrapped up with Gov. Tim Walz signing the omnibus budget bills into law on May 31. Despite some unsettling moments in the midst of session, when the Senate proposed drastic General Fund cuts, a compromise was eventually reached and it ended ...
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June 4, 2019
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Legislators’ attempt to open State Parks to off-highway vehicles kept at bay in 2019

During the 2019 Legislative Session, a handful of legislators* tried to advance a bill (HF 48/SF 1568) that would mandate a pilot project at Hayes Lake and Lake Vermilion State Parks to allow all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to use the campground and access routes within these state parks.
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Group of 50+ people grouped around table with Park & Trails Council logo
March 28, 2019
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2019 Day on the Hill Recap

We had a great day as supporters from all around the state gathered for our annual Day on the Hill event on March 27. Minnesota State Parks and Trails budget is a primary concern for this year's legislative session. Additionally, we continue to advocate that ...
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Campers settling in at new campground at Lake Vermilion
March 5, 2019
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Lake Vermilion: park development

This project is included in Parks & Trails Council's 2019 Legislative Agenda. 2019 Legislative SummaryBill Funding AmountStatus$9.5 millionFully funds P&TC's recommendation, but is designated for the development of an OHV campground, which we oppose. 2019 Funding Source Sought General Obligation Bonds 2019 Bills Introduced HF ...
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Native yellow sunflowers in a field
March 5, 2019
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Regional and Local Grants

This project is included in Parks & Trails Council's 2019 Legislative Agenda. 2019 Legislative SummaryCurrent Bill Funding AmountStatus$1 million$2 million short of P&TC’s recommendation 2019 Funding Source Sought General Obligation Bonds 2019 Bills Introduced HF 654: Local recreation grants funding provided, and money appropriated. SF ...
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