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Advocacy Resources

Please note that this page is still under development. We thank you for your patience as we finalize content.

Friends Groups play an important role in providing a community of voices that joins together to support a park or trail. There are a number of ways Friends Groups can advocate for their special place.

Ways to Advocate

Work with your leadership team and membership to decide upon advocacy actions that make most sense for your group. While the legislative season in spring may the the busiest time of the year, try to keep engaged in advocacy activities year-round.

Attend Day on the Hill

Each year, Parks & Trails Council hosts a Day on the Hill event during the legislative session in spring. This event is an opportunity to gather, learn, and share.

  • Understand what Parks & Trails Council is advocating for at the capitol.
  • Discuss legislative topics with other Friends Groups.
  • Learn strategies for how to engage with your legislators.
2018 Event Overview
Gitchi Gami Trail Association and Superior Hiking Trail groups

Support P&TC’s Legislative Agenda

Each year, Parks & Trails Council identifies priorities to advocate for at the capitol—including grassroots initiatives, management needs, and smart policy. When the application is open, let P&TC know if there is a specific project for which your Friends Group is seeking funding or support. Upon evaluation, P&TC may be able to include that project in their legislative agenda and work with you to garner support.

2018 Legislative Agenda
Reviewing P&TC legislative agenda
Looking at P&TC legislative agenda

Connect with your Legislators

One great way to build awareness of your group and keep your projects moving forward is to gather support from your elected officials. While the tips below are geared toward state legislators, they can be adapted for mayors, city council members, and other elected officials.

Rep. Hausman talks with our group
Rep. Hausman talks with our group

General Tips & Best Practices

  • Research your legislator before connecting.
    • Use this online tool to find your legislator’s website.
    • Consider biographical information, committee assignments, and key issues of concern.
    • Find out if your legislator has given past support to parks and trails, so you can thank them.
  • Address your legislator appropriately and with respect (e.g. Senator [Last Name] or Representative [Land Name]).
  • Resist attempts at humor.
  • Always send a followup note after an interaction to thank them, address their questions, and offer future help.

Methods to Connect

Personal Meetings

Group wearing Friends of Mill Towns shirts with Rep. Bly

Friends of Mill Towns Trail meet with Rep. Bly (DFL, Northfield)

A good way to build a relationship with your legislator is to personally meet with them. While scheduling a formal appointment to meet in their office at the capitol is a good idea, it is even better to meet them when they are home in the district—your opportunity for meaningful discussion is much better when they’re not busy with the legislative session. Many legislators host open houses in their home districts, so take advantage of that opportunity to connect.

  • Be concise—use 10 words or less to introduce your topic.
  • Name the issue or concern and offer suggested action.
  • Know what you want from the legislator and ask them to do that (e.g. vote no on this bill).
  • Provide a fact sheet, visuals, and/or bullet points.

Phone Calls

You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to care. By calling your legislator, you can quickly weigh in on current legislation and ensure your voice is heard.

  • Ensure you’re prepared with information about the issue, the impact you’d like to share, and what action you’d like the legislator to take.
  • Calls are most effective during the height of the legislative session before an important committee or floor vote.
  • Sometimes you will speak with a legislative assistant, not the actual legislator, who is tallying responses from constituents. Five calls is an avalanche.
  • You may or may not get a response directly from your legislator.

Letters

Well written letters are invaluable and quick. To be most effective letters should be brief (only one typed page). Include your name, postal address, and phone number.

  • Keep to one topic.
  • Everything you say should support your point.
  • Outline your concerns and suggested action.
  • Explain to them why they should care and how it will impact their district.
  • Offer to be of further assistance and to provide more information it they need it.

Emails

As the digital version of letters, all rules and suggestions for letters apply. Keep the email short, less than 400 words, and make sure you clearly outline the issue and what impacts you may experience from certain decisions.

Site Visits

Cutting the ribbon on the new campground for Lake Vermilion State Park

Cutting the ribbon on the new campground for Lake Vermilion State Park

When your legislator is at home in your district, invite them to come tour the park or trail you support. If there is a special event or activity, be sure they receive an invitation to join.

Share the Benefits of Parks and Trails

It is well known that the existence of parks and trails provides a plethora of benefits for us all. By sharing facts and statistics about the health, quality of life, environmental, and tourism benefits, you can strengthen support for your project. P&TC has developed a number of fact sheets describing these benefits.

Discover the Benefits
Our members look out over the land we helped add to Anderson park

Follow Advocacy News

Click on the posts below to learn about recent advocacy updates.

Bicyclists riding at underpass
screenshot of webpage with 2018 investment projects
Sketch of proposed Glendalough Trailhead
Turkeys cross the Munger Trail
Bison at Minneopa State Park September 2017 by Sheryl Hindermann

Explore More with P&TC

Parks & Trails Council has a whole section of their website dedicated to statewide advocacy for parks and trails. It includes a summary of issues, a bill tracker, research and reports, and other legislative resources.

Find More Advocacy Resources
Man presenting powerpoint
Andrew Oftedal presenting P&TC's legislative agenda