Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails gathered for their annual meeting on Oct. 18 in Little Falls. Members convened to discuss this past year, future goals, issues that we are facing, and hear a little bit about some projects that are going on in Greater Minnesota.
GMPT had a good year in 2017. Membership is at an all-time high with 114 members, representing a 34 percent increase over three years. This year, we welcomed our first business member (WSB Consulting) and our first Tribal Organization (White Earth Nation) into our ranks. The Membership Committee, chaired by Joe Amundson, has worked hard to recruit and retain GMPT members. In addition to membership growth, GMPT has expanded its communications to include Facebook and Twitter and as you are finding out, we are launching a new platform for our newsletter.
GMPT Elects New Board Members
At the annual meeting, GMPT members elected Ben Anderson of Stearns County as the District 4 representative and Karlin Ziegler from Olmsted County as the District 6 representative, in addition to electing Ted Suss as the Chair and Mike Nigbur as Vice Chair. Congratulations to all four of you!
Success at the Legislature
GMPT went into the 2017 Legislative Session with three goals:
- Preserve the 40/40/20 split and Commission funding
- Obtain additional funding for local parks and trails grant programs
- No restrictions on park or trail construction.
We are just as excited now as we were then that we were successful on all three of these fronts. The biggest victory for Greater Minnesota was that $1 million for local trails and outdoor recreation grant programs was appropriated in the general fund for the first time in more than a decade. 2018 is shaping up to be another good year as well!
Renee Mattson from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) provided an update to GMPT. Currently, the GMRPTC is reviewing four designation applications and the funding applications for this cycle. The GMRPTC received a little more than $14 million in requests, with only $8 million in funding available. Mattson said “people are beginning to understand the process a little better and the Commission is receiving more quality applications.” Be looking for phase two of the data management system to come out this next year and the next funding cycle will open in the spring.