Legislative priorities

2020 Legislative Priorities


Keeping State Parks protected from off-highway vehicles

During the last two legislative sessions (2018 and 2019) unsuccessful attempts were made to pass bills allowing for off-highway vehicles (OHVs) use within state parks.

We oppose all efforts to introduce or expand the use of OHVs in state parks.

Learn more


Accelerating the pace of state trail rehabilitation

Extensive research indicates that Minnesota’s state trails require between $4-6 million to remain the vital assets that Minnesotans have come to rely.

Learn more
Girl bikes on a paved trail away from the tunnel


Fixing the critical infrastructure in state parks and trails

The MnDNR’s assets, such as shower buildings, trail bridges, water systems, etc., have been neglected because of insufficient funding. The agency’s assessment shows that more than a quarter of their roughly 2,852 buildings are in poor to crisis-level condition.

Parks & Trails Council supports the agency’s request for bonding funds to address this backlog and restore these important assets.

View DNR Report


Continuing to invest in local and regional parks and trails

The grant programs established under Minnesota Stat. 85.019 have provided critical funds for developing

Parks & Trails Council supports an appropriation of $4 million in bonding funds to continue these vital grant programs.

View details about the grant programs on the MnDNR website:

15 people with shovels and hardhats and sign announcing the Swedish Immigrant Trail

Previous Years' Agendas

2019 Legislative Agenda

A budget that works for parks and trails

There is a $3 million gap in Minnesota State Parks and Trails’ budget. The Legislature could fix this by restoring the General Fund appropriation to $27 million.

Equitable use of Legacy Funds

We support the concept of equity, coordination and balance between the needs and priorities of Minnesota’s three major park and trail systems. We believe future fund allocations should be a compromise agreed to by the Minnesota DNR, Metropolitan Regional Parks and Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails.

Support LCCMR recommendations

We support the full recommendation of the Legislative-Citizen Commission of Minnesota Resources, which includes $16 million to fund twelve park and trail projects.

Keep State Parks natural and quiet

We oppose any change that would introduce the use of recreational off-highway vehicles in Minnesota State Parks.

2019 Session Recap

The 2019 Legislative Session lasted from January 5 – May 20, 2019. Read our session recap for details about what passed and what didn’t.

2018 Legislative Agenda

Grassroots Initiatives

We work with local volunteers around the state to identify and complete park and trail projects from the ground up. In 2018 we’re helping 14 communities advocate at the capitol to get their project funded.

Management Needs

We work with park and trail managers to secure the resources they need. In 2018 we’re advocating for rehabilitation and development dollars, plus critical funding for important grant programs.

Smart Policy

We work with policy experts to advocate for smart park and trail policies. In 2018 we’re fighting to keep state parks quiet and natural by opposing the potential introduction of off-highway vehicles.

2018 Session Recap

Read our 2018 session recap for details about what passed and what didn’t.

2017 Legislative Agenda

Budget & Policy Priorities

  • Fully fund Minnesota State Parks and Trails
  • No new taxes for State Trail users
  • Keep Minnesota State Parks free from the noise and undue artificiality of off-highway vehicles, including ATVs

Capital Investment Priorities

Minnesota’s parks and trails have substantial unmet capital investment needs. Working with park agencies and local friends groups, Parks & Trails Council has identified over $100 million worth of park and trail projects ready for funding. All of these projects have been in the works for years, and were put on hold following the failure to pass a bonding bill in 2016. Projects include

  • $57.5 million for State Parks and Trails Rehabilitation and Renewal
  • $31.2 million for State Parks and Trails Acquisition and Development
  • $11 million for Metropolitan Regional Parks and Trails
  • $6.6 million for Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails

2017 Session Recap

Read our 2017 session recap for details about what passed and what didn’t.

2016 Legislative Agenda

  • Bonding bill to revitalize, update and expand parks and trails across Minnesota
    • $57.5 million for State Park and Trail rehabilitation
    • $27.7 million for State Park and Trail Acquisition and Development
    • $13 million for Metropolitan Regional Parks and Trails
    • $6.6 million for Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails
View Full 2016 Agenda

Cover of the Legislative agenda 2016

2015 Legislative Agenda

  • Restore and expand General Funds for Minnesota’s state parks and trails
  • Create a stunning park and trail legacy for future generations
  • Reinvest in Minnesota’s state park and trail’s aging infrastructure
  • Continue building Minnesota’s parks and trails through the Environment & Natural Resource Trust Fund
  • Strengthen policies that protect and enhance Minnesota’s parks and trails
View Full 2015 Agenda

2015 Legislative agenda cover

2014 Legislative Agenda

  • We support the DNR’s $77.1 million bonding request, plus an additional $10.95 million for the state trails initiative.
  • We support the Metropolitan Council’s full bonding request to support metro regional parks and trails
  • We urge the legislature to fund all, or part, of the LCCMR’s recommended parks and trails projects
  • We support the full DNR request for the state to purchase certain School Trust Fund land with an added provision to also purchase trail easements/leases
View Full 2014 Agenda

2013 Legislative Agenda

  • Restore base funding to operate State Parks and Trails
  • Make Legacy Funds truly transformative for our parks and trails
  • 13 trail projects still backlogged from 2010 vetoes; It is time to build
View Full 2013 Agenda

2013 Leg Agenda Cover