Grant Guide

Parks & Trails Council (P&TC)

Friends Group Grants

2023 Grant Overview

Any group interested in applying for this grant is strongly encouraged to watch this pre-recorded presentation about the 2023 grant guidelines.


This grant program is designed to support Friends Groups of parks and trails in Minnesota. Friends Groups can apply for funds to support habitat restoration projects.

Application & Review Process

Draft Application: January 23, 2023

Final Application: February 6, 2023

Please download the Grant Overview before applying. Be sure to connect with your land management agency contact and the Friends Group Program Manager from P&TC (651-370-7907) while developing your group’s application. Applications can be submitted to

Funding Amount

$500 – $2,500

The minimum grant request is $500 and the maximum grant request is $2,500. Up to $15,000 in small grants will be issued to qualifying friends groups with appropriate projects in 2023. A cash match is not required, but projects with a cash match will receive careful consideration.



Projects should be focused on habitat restoration. For example: planting tree/native plants, protecting trees/native plants, seed collection, and invasive species removal.

grass icon orange Land/Resource

people icon orange People/Engagement


Applicants must be a Friends Group Partner of Parks & Trails Council.

heart handshake orange 501(c)(3) Nonprofit

heart handshake orange Fiscal Client

Land Type & Geography

Projects that take place on parks and trails in Minnesota are eligible.

orange tree Parks   

orange trail icon Trails

Statistics & Examples

P&TC started issuing grants to friends groups in 2018. Below are the statistics for total funds allocated each year.

Funding History

YearFunds Awarded# ProjectsAverage Award

2022 Project Distribution

2023 Grants

2022 Grants

2021 Grants

2019 Grants

Nets and test kits

Creating water quality activity kit

Friends of Lake Bemidji State Park created a water quality educational kit that will be used at the park for youth programs and activities.

person belaying a climber

Youth rock climbing day

Friends of Blue Mounds State Park hosted a rock climbing day for kids, including a knot tying activity.

Woman holding out turtle to youth

Hosting two field trips for 3rd graders

Friends of Lake Maria State Park hosted two field trips for 159 3rd graders focused on hands-on learning at the park.

group picture on bikes back at school

Starting a bike fleet for field trips

Gitchi-Gami Trail Association established a new bike fleet at a local school and organized the inaugural “Bike to Birches” field trip to nearby state parks.

activity to compare weight of hummingbird

Developing youth activity materials

Friends of Tettegouche State Park helped develop materials for a toddler time program, wind and solar energy activity, and historical fire starting kit.

kids sitting on floor in rapt attention to the musician

Field trip: “A Day at the Park”

Friends of Wild River State Park hosted a field trip event for local K-6 students to spend a day at the park doing various outdoor-themed activities.

park ranger speaking outside in screenshot of video

Acquiring video equipment

Friends of Whitewater State Park purchase video equipment to develop safe, remote educational programming for local schools.

birds activity kit

Assembling youth discovery kits

Friends of Minneopa State Park assembled three sets of 10 youth discovery kits—animal tracks, birds, and wildflowers.

scout troop posing for a group picture

Erecting deer exclosure fence

Friends of Zippel Bay State Park constructed a deer exclosure fence around 6 acres of forest to help promote forest regeneration.

Friends volunteers install a tree cage

Improving forest health

Friends of Tettegouche State Park installed tree cages around 11 trees to help improve long-term forest health.

shovels and trees that are ready to be planted

Planting native trees and shrubs

Friends of Whitewater State Park planted native trees and shrubs to improve habitat and shade.

volunteers get ready to unload trees from trailer

Planting and protecting trees

Friends of Minneopa planted and protected 22 trees to improve habitat and shade.

two girls use a shovel to plant a tree

Remove and replace ash trees

Friends of Blue Mounds State Park helped to remove and replace vulnerable ash trees, improving forest canopy and providing shade.

Two volunteers pounding in t-posts

Erecting deer exclosure fence

Friends of Lake Bemidji State Park installed a deer exclosure fence around 5 acres of forest to aid in forest regeneration.

friends and youth celebrate having planted a tree

Restoring land by cabins at Sibley

The friends removed invasive vegetation near park camper cabins and replaced it with native trees and shrubs to improve habitat and provide shade and privacy screening.

2018 Grants

Oak savanna restoration project tree planting on June 2, 2018

Oak savanna restoration

Frontenac State Park Association planted trees and native prairie forbs to help restore oak savanna.

two kids carry the tree cage across the prairie

Installing tree cages around young oaks

Friends of Wild River State Park installed tree cages around young, naturally growing oak trees to protect them from deer browse.

friends with rakes prepare the soil

Restoring wood edge habitat

Friends of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park installed 0.5 acres of native plants and trees along a wooded edge.

Tree Planting at Maplewood State Park

Replacing vulnerable ash trees

Friends of Maplewood planted and protected 15 large sugar maple trees to replace ash trees that were succumbing to emerald ash borer.

Two women cutting wire fencing

Installing tree cages around young pines

Friends of Itasca State Park installed 460 cages to protect young, naturally growing pine trees from deer browse.