After 40 years of service with Chisago County, Laird Mork is retiring. His last day on the job is May 31.
Laird has been an integral part of the GMPT. He was a part of the organization in its infancy, when it was just a group of parks & trails directors from the around the state. He later served as the chair of the GMPT in 2015 and 2016.
In addition to helping usher the GMPT into what it is today, Laird oversaw the growth of Chisago County Parks from three county parks and no trails to five county parks, one park reserve and two regional trails. One of many achievements that he has overseen through the years was the creation of the Sunrise Prairie Regional Trail that opened in 1998. It was the first regional trail in Chisago County and was originally met with skepticism. Through his efforts, Laird was able to take $120,000 in local funds and leverage federal transportation funding (ISTEA) to complete this project.
After his retirement, Laird plans to take some time to explore as many Minnesota state parks as he has time for this summer, and in the fall he plans to take a trip to the west coast and visit some national parks along the way.
In speaking with Laird, he noted that he would like to acknowledge the group of park directors from the around the state that met informally through the 1980s and 1990s, before it later turned into the large organization that the GMPT is today. “It was through this group that I understood the challenges I faced were not unique, but to be expected,” he said. “I also encourage Greater Minnesota Parks & Trails to continue to promote that parks and trails are a central contributor to alleviating some of the major problems our communities face to government officials and residents.”
Please join us in thanking Laird for his contributions over the years to the GMPT and Chisago County Parks. Laird has been a vital part of what the GMPT is today and we will miss having him around. We wish you a happy retirement, Laird!