Native yellow sunflowers in a field

Our Friends Group Program

Friends Groups Coming Together

If you are a member of a Friends Group supporting a park or trail in Minnesota, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you can get access to resources and services. You can also see what other Friends Groups are doing to learn from each other.

When Friends Groups join as members of Parks & Trails Council, they become Friends Group Partners, get all the latest updates on new resources, and are featured in our Meet a Friends Group section of the website. If your Friends Group is not already a member, we hope you’ll consider joining and being a part of the growing community.

What type of Friends Groups does Parks & Trails Council partner with?

Many parks and trails in Minnesota have a friends group; and they are as unique as the places they support. There are a few ways in which the Friends Groups that we partner with most closely could generally be described.

Our Friends Group Partners are…


Our Friends Group Partners are mission-based organizations, focused on the environmental stewardship of the park or trail they support. Some, but not all, have official nonprofit status.


Our Friends Group Partners fulfill their mission through a variety of activities, such as fundraising, advocacy, outreach, maintenance, and programming.


Our Friends Group Partners are volunteer-led groups. Their accomplishments are the result of dedicated people putting in hours of work in their free time. They are often unsung heroes, motivated simply by their love of the park or trail they support.


Our Friends Group Partners are independent, grassroots organizations. While they partner with the agency, they also play a role as the citizen voice who can be forthright in their opinions, beholden to their mission rather than the agency.


Our Friends Group Partners are strong partners with the staff who manage the park and trail they support. While independent, they work closely to align their mission with that of the park or trail and find ways to collaborate with the park or trail staff.

State or Regional

Our Friends Group Partners work to support parks and trails within the state and regional system. Often they are focused on one specific park or trail but some support a defined region or network of parks and trails.

Becoming a Friends Group Partner

Friends Groups that partner with Parks & Trails Council help to build a community of caretakers and advocates. Together we can make a big impact on the acquisition, protection and enhancement of parks and trails in Minnesota.

Friends Group Partner Benefits

Minnesota Trails Magazine

Filled with guides and stories to inspire you to get out and enjoy Minnesota’s parks and trails, this quarterly magazine is mailed to members at the $35+ level.

Special Places Newsletter

This quarterly newsletter highlights important news in parks and trails and projects accomplished through member and Friends Group support.

cover of 2017 fall newsletter


Access a resource library designed specifically for Friends Groups (i.e. grant guide, liability insurance, how-to-guides).

Fiscal Client Eligibility

Friends Group members are eligible to become a Fiscal Client with Parks & Trails Council. Click the Fiscal Client tab for more information.

Gitchi Gami Trail Association and Superior Hiking Trail groups

One of the special services we offer our Friends Group Partners is Fiscal Sponsorship. This is a relationship when a 501(c)3 non-profit organization extends its legal and tax-exempt status to a partner group. Parks & Trails Council assumes the responsibility for receiving, holding, and administering funds on behalf of the Friends Group. Learn more about fiscal sponsorship by watching this video from Propel Nonprofits.

Fiscal Client Member Benefits

All Friends Group Member Benefits

Fiscal Clients receive the Minnesota Trails magazine and Special Places newsletter and have access to the resource library.

Financial Account & Reporting

Creation and maintenance of accounting records and preparation of legal, financial, and tax reports as required for donors and funders.

501(c)(3) Status & Tax-Deductible Donations

Receive 501(c)(3) status under P&TC’s umbrella, which enables Fiscal Clients to be able to accept tax-deductible donations.

Online Donations

Fiscal Clients can apply to have capacity to receive credit card donations online.

Fiscal Client Expectations

As Parks & Trails Council is taking on financial and legal liability, there are a few requirements of Fiscal Clients.

Sign a Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement

The agreement encompasses the expectations of both parties. It should be signed by two members of the group who are authorized to make decisions on behalf of the group.

Provide Organization Information

  • Contact information for leadership
  • Mission statement
  • Articles of incorporation and bylaws, if such exist
  • Activity and project details

Use Expenditure Request and Deposit Sheet Forms

In order to make transactions with funds, utilize the forms provided by P&TC to the Fiscal Client.

Checks Payable to P&TC

Ask donors to make checks payable to “Parks & Trails Council of MN” to ensure the donation is directed to your group’s account.

Reach out to the Friends Group Coordinator if your group would like to become a Fiscal Client (651-726-2457 or