Grant Guide

It’s no surprise that park and trail projects require lots of funding. Grants issued by government and private entities can help friends groups and park and trail land management agencies accomplish a wide variety of projects.

Many kinds of organizations offer grant funding, and the grants listed here are sorted accordingly. Different grantors will have different requirements, so it’s helpful to read their guidelines in full and then decide if they are a good fit for your needs.

Freshwater Future | Project Grant Program
Grants for nonprofits in the Great Lakes Basin seeking to promote water protection.

Laura Jane Musser Fund | Environmental Initiative Grants
Grants focused on enhancing publicly-owned spaces.

Minnesota Initiative Foundations | Regional Foundation Grants
Targeted activities vary. Interested applicants should check with their regional foundation for more details.

Minnesota Recreation & Park Foundation (MRPF) | New Initiative Grants
These grants seek to encourage innovation in park and recreation services.

Monarch Watch | Free Milkweeds
Monarch Watch provides free milkweed plants for qualifying organizations.

North Star Ski Touring Club | North Star Grants
These grants fund projects that promote Nordic skiing.

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota | Friends Group Grants
Parks & Trails Council-funded grants for projects focused on habitat restoration activities.

PeopleForBikes | Community Grants
Funding for projects that make biking easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities.

Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s | Community Support Grants
Grants focused on wildlife and habitat and connecting new audiences to the outdoors.

Clif Bar Family Foundation | Small Grants
Grant funds for projects focused on safeguarding the natural resources of the community.

Energy Cooperatives | Operation Round Up Grants
The “Operation Round Up” program provides funding for a variety of community-improvement projects.

MnDNR | Conservation Partners Legacy Grants
Habitat-focused grants.

MnDNR | Federal Recreational Trail Grants
Grants focused on the maintenance and development of recreational trails.

MnDNR | Local Trail Connection Grants
The development of local trail connections.

MnDNR | Natural & Scenic Areas Grants
Grants focused on natural and scenic areas not managed by the state.

MnDNR | No Child Left Inside Grants
Grants for environmental education programs.

MnDNR | Outdoor Recreation Grants
Funding for outdoor recreation facilities.

MnDNR | Regional Trail Grants
Support for the acquisition and development of recreational trails outside the seven-county metro area.

Greater MN Regional Parks & Trails Commission | Regional Legacy Grants
Funding for regionally significant parks and trails.

LCCMR | Trust Fund Appropriations
An RFP-based process for the use of the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

MnDOT | Transportation Alternatives Grants
Grants funding infrastructure that promotes alternatives to automobile transit.

MNHS | Historical & Cultural Heritage Grants
Funding for history programs and the preservation of historical/cultural resources.

SHIP | Local Support Grants
Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) grants support community-driven public health solutions.


This grant guide would not exist without the many dedicated professionals working on grant programs for parks and trails across Minnesota. A big thank you to the following individuals who provided information and guidance—their assistance in the project is greatly appreciated.

  • Explore Minnesota Tourism: Lori Peterson
  • Laura Jane Musser Fund: Sandra Voytovich
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Audrey Mularie & Dave Sobania
  • Minnesota Historical Society: Carolyn Veeser-Egbide
  • National Environmental Education Foundation: Isabel Spake
  • North Start Ski Touring Club: Mel Peterson
  • PeopleForBikes: Zoe Kirkos