In less than two weeks, the Minnesota Legislature will reconvene, and although the second half of the biennium is shorter, it will likely be another busy session. Because it is not a budget year, the Legislature will be focused primarily on the bonding bill and policy issues. For GMPT, we have several priorities for 2024. We would like to see more funding for the DNR’s local park and trails grant programs and will be pushing for the inclusion of such funds in the bonding bill.
Next week, the Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) will begin deliberating its potential recommendations on how to spend the $45.7 million available in the Environment Natural Resources and Trust Fund. After much nudging from our group, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requested $3 million for these three programs: Outdoor Recreation (Local Parks) Grant Program, Natural and Scenic Area Grant Program, and Local Trail Connections Grant Program. This request made it through the initial screening process and now the DNR is scheduled to present it to the LCCMR on October 5. The LCCMR will then make a recommendation to the Legislature (and the Legislature typically follows the LCCMR’s recommendations).
The above-mentioned grant programs are one of the few sources of state funding for local parks & trails and many of our members have benefitted from them in the past. We need your help to get more money into these programs!
Please take a few moments to contact LCCMR members and ask for their support for Project 201-G, the Local Parks, Trails & Natural Area Grants Programs.
Here are a few points you may want to make when contacting the LCCMR members (but feel free to put it into your own words):
- Local parks and trails are the foundation of outdoor recreation in Minnesota and are often the first exposure Minnesotans have to parks and trails.
- These grant programs provide matching funds to cities and counties across the state that aren’t covered by Legacy funding. They are the only state grant programs available for many Greater Minnesota projects.
- Funding for these grant programs is running low and demand is high.
- [Provide specific examples of how these programs have benefited or could benefit your community by mentioning past funding you have received or a project you’d like to propose]
And most importantly, make the following ask:
- Please support LCCMR Project 201-G, the Local Parks, Trails & Natural Area Grants Program when allocating money from the Environmental Trust Fund
You can find the list of LCCMR members to contact here. If you want to email the entire group at once, you can do so by clicking on this link, which will open up an email addressed to all of the members.