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Apply now for DNR parks and trails grants

The GMPT has been instrumental in successfully advocating for additional state funding for parks and trails grant programs initiated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Applications are now being accepting for the latest round of funding for the following programs: outdoor recreation, natural and scenic area, regional trail, local trail connections and federal recreational trails. We strongly encourage you to apply!

Several GMPT members have received these grants in the past. They are designed to help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund projects related to local parks, regional trails to trail connections. Eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other details can be found on the DNR website at or at the following program links:

  • Federal Recreational Trail Program – Grants between $2,500 and $150,000 will be awarded for maintenance/restoration of recreational trails; development or rehabilitation of recreational trail linkages or trail head facilities; environmental awareness and safety education programs, and redesign or relocation of trails to benefit the environment. All projects must be sponsored by a unit of government, but preference is given to projects done in cooperation with a local trail organization or that involve youth corps worker groups. A 25 percent cash or in-kind match is required. Applications are due Feb. 26, 2021.
  • Local Trails Connection Program – Grants ranging from $5,000 to $150,000 are available for local units of government for the acquisition or development of short trail connections between where people live and desirable locations. A 25 percent match is required. Priority is given to projects that provide significant connectivity. Applications are due March 31, 2021.
  • Regional Trail Grant Program – Grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 are available for the development of trails in Greater Minnesota of regional or statewide significance. Priority for trail project funding will be given to projects that develop trails of significant length. These grants do not require that the project be designated by the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.  Designated trails are eligible, but Legacy grants may not serve as the match. A 25 percent cash match is required. Applications are due March 31, 2021.
  • Natural and Scenic Area Grants – Grants up to $500,000 are available to local governments for acquisition of natural and scenic land for development. The 2020-2024 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) provides guidance on priorities. A maximum of 50 percent of total project costs will be reimbursed. Applications are due March 31, 2021.
  • Outdoor Recreation Grant Program – Grants of up to 50 percent of project costs (with a maximum award of $250,000) are available to local governments to increase and enhance outdoor recreation facilities in local and community parks. Acquisition and development or development projects are eligible including internal park trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds, athletic facilities, boat accesses, fishing piers, swimming beaches and campgrounds. The SCORP guidelines will establish priorities for this grant program. Applications are due March 31, 2021.