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Park

Inside this issue

Strategic Plan

pg 2

Legislative Preview

pg 4

Legacy Amendment

pg

4

Legislative Agenda

pg

5-9

PolyMet Mining

pg 10

Magney Circle Recap

pg 10

Art Gallery Event

pg 11

Medtronic Donor Update

pg 11

Upcoming events

Day on the Hill

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 • 9am - 2pm Best Western Kelly Inn • St. Paul, MN

$15/person (includes breakfast & lunch)

Register at www.parksandtrails.org

Join us to learn about current policy issues from park and trail leaders and leg- islators. This is your chance to stand with other supporters of parks and trails, speak to your legislators and help protect these places for future generations.

60 th Annual Dinner

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 • 5:30 - 9pm Town & Country Club • St. Paul, MN $50/person (includes dinner)

Register at www.parksandtrails.org

People-Powered Policy: 60 Years of Safe- guarding Minnesota’s Natural Heritage

Annual Dinner continued on page 3

Natural Heritage Annual Dinner continued on page 3 Winter 2014 (February) Special Places PARKS & TRAILS

Winter 2014 (February)

Special Places

PARKS & TRAILS COUNCIL OF MINNESOTA NEWSLETTER

Places PARKS & TRAILS COUNCIL OF MINNESOTA NEWSLETTER The island Parks & Trails Council recently acquired
Places PARKS & TRAILS COUNCIL OF MINNESOTA NEWSLETTER The island Parks & Trails Council recently acquired

The island Parks & Trails Council recently acquired for Lake Vermilion State Park, view from west side of island facing east.

Land Project Update

Parks & Trails Council preserves highly visible island for Lake Vermilion State Park

On Jan. 10, Parks & Trails Council final- ized the acquisition of a critical 2.9-acre island in Lake Vermilion, which will soon be conveyed to the state as part of Lake Vermilion State Park.

This forested island is on the edge of Cable Bay and is visible from 60 percent of the park shoreland. As such, it plays a starring role in the ruggedly majestic viewshed from the park.

There was urgency to acquire this land once it was put up for sale by its owner last year. Nearby, other islands are quickly becoming acquired for housing. Perhaps not wanting to see the unique forested

Lake Vermilion continued on page 3

Murray e Vermilion project site nderground Mine Armstrong Bay ate Parks !9 Cable Bay Lake
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Armstrong Bay
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Cable Bay
Lake Vermilion State Park
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Dewey Lake
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Lily Lake
Raspberry Island
Mattson Bay
Old

From the President

Being a bridge builder-of the literal and metaphorical kind

By Mike Tegeder

Some years ago there was a controversy in Alaska over a “bridge to nowhere.” What made that phrase memorable was that usually it is taken for granted that bridges go somewhere. Indeed they make vital connections. We notice when a bridge is not there. After the mas- sive flooding in June 2012 many bridges in Northeast Minnesota were taken out. And one of those bridges was the historic swinging bridge at Jay Cooke State Park. It was missed by many of us for over a year.

Thankfully, at the beginning of last No- vember, the bridge reopened. Indeed most of it needed to be replaced but the most essential part of the bridge withstood the

raging waters, the stone pillars erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps workers in 1934. The CCC built those pillars with pride and the bridge has a pride of place in our state parks. It is wonderful to be able to walk across it over the St. Louis River. Once you have crossed it you will never forget the swinging sensation.

How appropriate that the DNR allowed a group of school children to be the first to cross the restored bridge, saying they may have the chance to bring their own kids across it someday. Indeed, that is a stirring image for all of us who love and work for our state’s heritage of parks and trails. We enjoy them but we are also appreciative that we will see others come after us who will have these special places too.

All of us at the Parks and Trails Council are bridge builders. We are making those vital connections between our natural

heritage and the generations to come, connecting people and parks. One of the most important ways that we serve as bridge builders is making the case for our parks and trails at the state capital. On Tuesday, March 4, P&TC sponsors a Day on the Hill when members and friends groups can engage our state legislators. But our work goes beyond one day. We have a daily presence during the session thanks to your support. We are building bridges throughout the year.

When the swinging bridge reopened, Park Manager Gary Hoeft told the assembled people, “We’re just terribly excited to have this reopen to the public.” Congratulations to Gary and his staff and to all at the DNR for a job well done. It is exciting to have the bridge back.

for a job well done. It is exciting to have the bridge back. Parks & Trails

Parks & Trails Council’s Strategic Direction

New Strategic Plan Approved for 2013-2016

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

~ Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland

After an extensive planning process that included an enviornmental scan with surveys, interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders, the Parks & Trails Council’s board of directors approved a new strategic plan in December 2013.

The new plan will lead the organization to be even more visible and influential in the coming years. We will build on our past successes and increase our part- nerships with groups that have similar missions.

In summary, the goals identified in the plan include:

Goal 1 - Increase the pace of land conser- vation in Minnesota’s parks and trails through increased use of our land acquisi- tion program services.

Goal 2 - Build and mobilize a strategic power base to advance comprehensive policy goals that cultivate a world-class system of integrated parks and trails in Minnesota.

Goal 3 - Continue to build a dedicated, broad-based membership and engage the membership in support of our mission.

Goal 4 - Pioneer a program that elevates

of our mission. Goal 4 - Pioneer a program that elevates The full strategic plan is

The full strategic plan is available at www.parksandtrails.org/resources/reports

the capacity of friends groups to acquire, protect and enhance Minnesota’s parks and trails.

Goal 5 - Continue to strengthen our organizational capacity to ensure success.

Annual Dinner

continued from page 1

Keynote speaker We are honored to have former Sen. David Durenberger as our keynote speak- er. He served as U.S. Senator from Min- nesota for 18 years (1978-1995) and has had a tremendous impact on Minnesota’s natural landscape. He helped to establish Voyageurs National Park, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He also served

and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He also served Sen. David Durenberger donning a ranger’s hat

Sen. David Durenberger donning a ranger’s hat at Parks & Trails Council’s annual dinner in 2008.

as the first chair of the Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission in 1974 and went on to chair the Hennepin County Park Reserve District Board (1975-1977). In addition, while serving as senator, he was the driving force behind numerous important pieces of environmental legisla- tion and appropriations.

Join us as this knowledgeable guide leads us through the compelling story of Parks & Trails Council’s 60 years of action to safeguard Minnesota’s natural heritage. We will be transported along a timeline full of fascinating people, tremendous ac- complishments and pristine places. It will entail an exploration on motivations and reasons for past accomplishments that will inspire us to continue the legacy of people- powered policy on behalf of our natural heritage into the future.

Reuel Harmon Awardee David Minge, will be presented with the

Harmon Awardee David Minge, will be presented with the David Minge leading the Parks & Trails

David Minge leading the Parks & Trails Council bike ride

prestigious Reuel Harmon Award. For the past decade Minge has used his charis- matic leadership to envision, organize and execute the Parks & Trails Council’s annual bike tour. It has been a labor of love fueled by his deep appreciation for the outdoors, bicycling and engaging with people. Regardless of the region of the state in which the event is held, David is always recognized as a great ambassador for Parks & Trails Council, bringing with him a band of merry followers and signifi- cant media attention that focuses attention on the value of parks and trails in commu- nities throughout the state.

Lake Vermilion island acquisition

continued from page 1

island views transformed into one of a deforested housing complex, the De- partment of Natural Resources (DNR) requested our help to acquire the land.

The first barrier to incorporating the island into the park was overcome during the 2013 legislative session, when the statutory boundaries of the park were expanded to include this island.

The next step is talking with the land- owner, who in this case was delighted to sell his land knowing it would become part of the park. It had been a getaway place and has two cabins and a storage building, but they are all in a state of dis- repair. As such, it is likely the buildings will be removed.

Future uses for the island, beyond pre- serving the scenic view are to be deter-

mined. While some parts of the park are currently open, most of the park is still in development. Capital funds are needed to complete this development. Parks & Trails Council is supporting the DNR’s 2014 bonding request of $25 million to continue these developments (see details within “Lake Vermilion” heading on page

6).

Co-management plans for Lake Ver- milion and Soudan Underground Mine are modeled as “next generation” parks. Future development considerations in- clude innovative features such as a scenic zipline, interpretive treehouses and others designed to engage young people in out- doors. Plus, sustainable designs will strive for “net zero” energy consumption.

For Minnesotans who are anxious to visit this new gem in our state park system,

are anxious to visit this new gem in our state park system, Rocky shoreline of the

Rocky shoreline of the newly acquired island.

one trail is currently marked and open. The trail is accessible from Soudan Un- derground Mine State Park, which forms the western border of the park. Addition- ally, there is a picnic area at Armstrong Bay and a boat-in campsite within Cable Bay.

A panoramic tour of Lake Vermilion State Park, including scenic views of the new island, is available at www.dnr.state. mn.us/state_parks/lake_vermilion.

Legislative Preview Governor’s bonding proposal leaves much to be desired for parks and trails The

Legislative Preview

Governor’s bonding proposal leaves much to be desired for parks and trails

The 2014 Legislative Session will convene on Feb. 25, one of the latest starts in recent memory.

The Budget For the first time in years the state is projected to have a budget surplus; and a significant one at that-$1.1 billion for FY2014-2015. From this the state is re- quired to repay the public school system for a previous accounting shift and a loan from the airport fund, leaving a forecast balance of $825 million. An updated budget forecast will be released at the end of Feb. 2014.

Bonding The 2014 legislative session is a tradi- tional bonding cycle-typically, bonding bill are passed in even-numbered years and budgets in odd-numbered years.

Bonding is used “to acquire and better public lands and buildings and other public improvements of a capital nature.” As such, bonding bills are critical to the development and preservation of lands for parks and trails.

The Parks & Trails Council, working in concert with grassroots, citizens groups around the state, has identified nearly $100 million of state, metro and regional projects that are critical to the legacy of Minnesota’s park and trail system. However, on Jan. 15, Gov. Dayton recommended far less than the needed amount-only $5 million for acquisition and development of state parks and trails

and $5 million for Metro parks and trails and $23 million for asset preservation,

a significant portion of which will go to rehabilitate state parks and trails.

The Legislature will use the governor’s recommendations as a guideline. Mean- while, Parks & Trails Council’s executive director, Brett Feldman said, “we will work hard with the Legislature to pass a bonding bill that meets the needs of Minnesota’s parks and trails and the local communities that depend on them for their economic vitality.” See our full legislative agenda on pages 5-9.

Other Issues A number of other issues will be in play:

repeal of business-to-business sales taxes, increase in minimum wage, increase in transportation funding, anti-bullying and increase in the state’s budget reserve account. The outcome of these issues and the bonding bill will be interconnected.

By law, the legislative session ends on May 19, 2014.

By law, the legislative session ends on May 19, 2014. Legislative Milestone Fifth Anniversary of the
By law, the legislative session ends on May 19, 2014. Legislative Milestone Fifth Anniversary of the

Legislative Milestone

Fifth Anniversary of the Legacy Amendment

Five years ago, in November 2008, Minnesotans over- whelming passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amend- ment, which raised sales tax starting in July 2009 by three eigths of one percent until 2034. Since that time the Parks and Trails Fund of the Legacy Amendment, which receives 14.25 percent of Legacy revenues, has been appropriated $143 million to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

parks and trails of regional or statewide significance. Some highlights from the first five years: 

Some highlights from the first five years:

Creation of Greater MN Regional Parks and Trails Coalition and Commission Since the advent of the Legacy Funds, regional parks and trails are being trans-

formed into a unified system that will serve area residents even better.

Development of a new segment of the Paul Bunyan State Trail

A new six-mile segment of the trail was

completed in 2012.

Acceleration of natural resource man-

agement within parks and trails The pace of native plant restoration with-

in state parks and trails has increased 59

percent, prescribed burning has increased 34 percent, and control of invasive plants has increased by more than 90 percent.

Complete renovation of Eastman Na- ture Center in Osseo The new state-of-the-art facility hosts year-round programs and exhibits.

Plus hundreds more projects View a full list at www.legacy.leg.mn, the website created by the Legislature to help citizens monitor Legacy investments.

Acquisition of La Salle Lake State Recreation Area campground and cabins

In 2012, Legacy Funds helped to acquire

a developed campground, two cabins

and other recreational amenities located on 190 acres within LaSalle Lake SRA, which was established in 2011 and is co- managed with Itasca State Park.

Creation of Naturalist Corps and ”

“I Can

Each summer about 33 naturalists are hired with Legacy Funds to engage park visitors. Plus new programs that teach archery, camping, climbing, fishing, and paddling skills, and offer free rental of fishing kits, GPS units, and other discov- ery kits within many parks are connecting more people to the outdoors.

programs

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA BONDING SESSION Working to acquire, protect and enhance critical land for the
2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
BONDING SESSION
Working to acquire, protect and enhance critical land for the public’s use and benefit.
2014
LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
In preparation for each session of the Minnesota Legislature, Parks & Trails Council works with leaders of
Minnesota’s park and trail systems to review priorities. We also partner with friends groups, chambers of
commerce and other community groups to ensure local voices are incorporated into our efforts of cultivating
world-class parks and trails that contribute to the health, economy and quality of life of all Minnesotans.
2014 BONDING FOR PARKS AND TRAILS
M innesotans value our interconnected systems of parks and
trails. But a rapidly growing population and aging infra-
structure means more must be done to protect these outdoor
treasures that are so essential to our economy, our health and our
outdoor way of life. The 2014 bonding bill is a vital component
for ensuring that necessary and wise investments are made on
behalf of state, metro and greater Minnesota regional systems.
few years; many of the projects listed have gotten state funding
in the past. This year’s bonding should continue the investments
already made.
During the two biennia prior to the passage of the Legacy
Amendment in November 2008, Minnesota appropriated $50
to $70 million in Capital Bonding per biennium to parks and
trail projects. Regrettably, in the two biennia since the Legacy
Amendment’s passage, capital investment in Minnesota’s parks
and trails has been reduced by more than 50 percent.
As the 2014 legislative session convenes, Parks & Trails Council
urges the legislature to fully support the bonding requests submit-
ted on behalf of parks and trails by the Department of Natural
Resources and Metropolitan Council while providing for the
emerging system in Greater Minnesota.
Bonding for Minnesota’s Parks and Trails
$100 M
Minnesota’s park and trail systems have substantial capital needs.
In their budget planning for years 2011-2020, the Department
of Natural Resources reports capital needs of more than $60 mil-
lion per biennium to tackle deferred maintenance, land acquisi-
tion, and park and trail development. The Metropolitan Council
reports capital bonding needs in excess of $10 million biennially
to develop and expand park and trails throughout the Twin Cit-
ies. And while the long-term needs for developing and expand-
ing Greater Minnesota’s system of parks and trails are still being
quantified, they too are significant.
$72.4 M
NEEDS UNFUNDED
FROM 2010 & 2012
$51.8 M
$31.1 M
$26.7 M
The Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, as part of its mission,
advocates for the acquisition, development and operation of parks
and trails throughout the state. Our following agenda, which
outlines $99.1 million in bonding priorities for parks and trails in
2014, builds on the goals presented to the Legislature in the last
* Includes House File 23 (2011) and House File 1752 (2012)
2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA B O N D I N G S E S S I

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

BONDING SESSION

State Parks and Trails System

Minnesota’s state park and trail system is managed by the Department of Natural Resources and includes 67 state parks, 7 state recreation areas, 25 state trails, and contains 1,600 buildings, 332 miles of roads, and 1,277 miles of in- park trails, and over 1,300 miles of developed state trails.

The bonding request made by the DNR includes six areas related to parks and trails, totaling $77.1 million. Parks & Trails Council supports this request plus an additional $10.95 million for the state trails initiative.

additional $10.95 million for the state trails initiative. Tettegouche State Park (photo by Paul Sundberg) state

Tettegouche State Park (photo by Paul Sundberg)

state trails acquisition & development - $20.95 million

EXCEEDS DNR REQUEST BY $10.95 MILLION

PRIORITY GIVEN TO 2010 VETOED PROJECTS

Parks & Trails Council has worked with community groups across the state to identify state trail projects with the high- est priority based on strong local support and shovel-readiness. These projects have been ready and sitting on hold since 2010.

Investing in these acquisition and development projects would ensure that Minnesota continues to attract tourists and provides safe and healthy transportation alternatives for its citizens. See list of projects in highlighted box 1.

state parks acquisition & development - $8.7 million

SUPPORTING FULL DNR REQUEST

To continue to be a valuable resource that contributes to our state’s overall quality of life, our state parks need to offer recre- ational opportunities aligned with Minnesotans’ lifestyles. Funds are needed to complete a new state-of-the art campground, to provide sanitary facilities that meet the needs of people of all abilities, to purchase key inholdings, and to develop two new public water accesses.

lake vermilion state park development - $25 million

SUPPORTING FULL DNR REQUEST

COMPLEMENTS PAST STATE FUNDING

For ongoing development of Lake Vermilion State Park, includ- ing the Cable Bay Campground (road, water access site, 26 campsites, 3 group camps; 2 sanitation buildings, 3 picnic shel- ters, 1 fish house, RV dump station; Wi-Fi), remote backpack and boat-in campsites, camper cabins, a welcome plaza, Stuntz Bay picnic area and boat launch, Cable Bay family adventure area, road connecting Soudan Underground Mine and Lake Ver- milion state parks, and Lake Lodge road. Construction priori- ties may change due to challenges encountered on-site and may require that some substitutions be made.

asset preservation - $30.4 million

SUPPORTING FULL DNR REQUEST

Many facilities within our state parks are 50-70 years old. They have fallen from a maintenance issue to rehabilitation. And many state trails are becoming hazardous to bicyclists. Since 2010 when Minnesota was recognized as the nation’s Best Trails State, limited investments have been made to maintain these trails.

Within this request $24 million would be used to rehabilitate campgrounds, water access sites, roads and bridges within parks.

The other $6.4 million would be used for improvements to state trails, including resurfacing, culvert and bridge replacements, erosion control, trail alignments, and accessibiilty improvements to priority projects at Root River, Sakatah, Arrowhead Trails, and Itasca Park bike trail.

local & regional grant program - $3 million

SUPPORTING FULL DNR REQUEST

The DNR, under the direction of the legislature, administers four matching grant programs that are designed to help local governments across Minnesota acquire and manage outdoor recreational opportunities in partnership with the DNR.

These funds would be used to provide competitive grants to local governments to acquire approximately 70 acres and develop or redevelop three to seven local and/or regional parks and also provide funding for ten to 15 local and regional trail projects.

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA B O N D I N G S E S S I

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

BONDING SESSION

highlighted box 1

project details on state trails initiative request

Blazing Star State Trail

$500,000

√ SHOVEL READY $1 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

Toward the acquisition and development of a 4-mile segment that would extend the current trail east from Myre-Big Island State Park to the village of Hayward.

Casey Jones State Trail

$750,000

√ SHOVEL READY $2 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

Toward three projects: 1) to develop and pave a five-mile segment in Pipestone County from Co. Rd. 16 through Wood- stock, 2) to preserve and enhance prairie grasses and the horse trail along an existing nine-mile segment from Pipestone through Woodstock and 3) to enhance the trailhead in Pipestone and interpretive signage along the existing trail.

Cuyuna Lakes State Trail $2.75 million

√ SHOVEL READY

√ COMPLEMENTS PAST STATE FUNDING $1 MILLION VETOED IN 2010 √ $700,000 MATCHED BY FEDERAL FUNDS

To continue connections of the trail to the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area on the east end and to the Paul Bunyan Trail

in Brainerd on the west end. Project details

include:

$1.1 million to connect Deerwood to Crosby and the Sagamore unit of the CCSRA.

$1.3 million to connect this trail to the Paul Bunyan State Trail and into Lum Park in Brainerd.

$350,000 to connect this trail from Lum Park

to

the airport. The last section will be done

in

conjunction with the redevelopment of the

airport.

Minnesota Valley State Trail $2.5 million

√ CONCEPTUAL DESIGN COMPLETE $400,000 VETOED IN 2010 FOR SEPARATE SEGMENT

Toward the development of the remaining 12-mile segment from Bloomington Ferry Bridge to Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in eastern Bloomington. Once this segment is complete, a short distance remains to reach Ft. Snelling State Park and thereby fill in a critical missing link in the South Metro Trail System. Accommodates both a surfaced trail and a mountain-biking, dirt trail.

Gateway State Trail $2 million

√ COMPLEMENTS PAST STATE FUNDING $2 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

Toward the continued acquisition and devel- opment of the trail to extend from its current end point at Pine Point Park in May Township into William O’Brien State Park near Marine on St. Croix. This would create a connection for bicyclists within the park to access the state trail and for residents along the trail, which starts in St. Paul and passes through numerous cities, to bike into the park.

Mill Towns State Trail

$550,000

$550,000 VETOED IN 2010

Toward the acquisition and development of a currently undeveloped rail bed from Faribault to Dundas.

Shooting Star State Trail $1 million

√ COMPLEMENTS PAST STATE FUNDING $1.5 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

Toward the acquisition and development

of the 11-mile segment from Rose Creek to

Austin where it will connect to a proposed

segment of the Blazing Star State Trail.

Heartland State Trail $3.1 million

√ SHOVEL READY

√ COMPLEMENTS PAST STATE FUNDING $1.5 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

Toward the acquisition and development of

a new 9-mile portion of the trail from Detroit

Lakes into Frazee. And for the completion of

a conceptual corridor design for a 21-mile portion between Moorhead and Hawley (HF 625) and (SF390).

Luce Line State Trail $2 million

√ SHOVEL READY √ PARTNER FUNDING $2.373 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

To pave 28.5 miles of the Luce Line State Trail from the Carver/McLeod County border through the cities of Winsted, Silver Lake and Hutchinson to Cedar Mills in Meeker County. Currently the surface is crushed aggregate and ready for paving. Local units of government will contribute the remaining $1.36 million to the project. The DNR has committed $1 million in Legacy funds.

Goodhue Pioneer State Trail $1.3 million

√ COMPLEMENTS PAST STATE FUNDING $1.3 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

To continue to acquire and develop a five- mile segment of the southern portion of the trail to extend from its current end point in White Willow into Goodhue. The state already owns three miles of the trail, and the remaining two miles have seven willing sellers. This project would provide a scenic trail between the cities of Goodhue and Zumbrota.

Gitchi Gami State Trail $3 million

√ SOME SEGMENTS SHOVEL READY √ COMPLEMENTS PAST STATE FUNDING √ MATCHED BY FEDERAL FUNDS $1 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

Toward the acquisition and development of the trail from a MnDOT wayside rest on Hwy 61 at Cutface Creek to the existing trail terminus on the west edge of Grand Marais. This highly scenic section will closely parallel the rugged shore of Lake Superior. Other priority segments include: Beaver Bay to West Road in Beaver Bay, Silver Bay to

Tettegouche State Park, Tofte missing link

and Lutsen Ski Hill Road to Co. Rd. 41.

Glacial Lakes State Trail $1.5 million

$2 MILLION VETOED IN 2010

To acquire and develop a 5-mile spur from the existing trail, through New London and into Sibley State Park. Project includes a bridge over Hwy. 71. This would create a safe passage for residents into the park and for park users to access the state trail.

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA B O N D I N G S E S S I

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

BONDING SESSION

Metropolitan Regional Parks and Trails System

The Metropolitan Regional Park System consists of 54,800 acres of parks and 308 miles of trails which hosted 43.9 million visits in 2011. The Metropolitan Regional Park System is owned, operated and maintained by ten regional park implementing agencies:

Anoka County Ramsey County City of St. Paul Carver County Dakota County

City of Bloomington Three Rivers Park District Minneapolis Park & Rec Board Scott County Washington County

grant program - $11 million

SUPPORTS FULL METROPOLITAN COUNCIL REQUEST COMPLEMENTS METROPOLITAN COUNCIL BONDS

The Metropolitan Council, a regional planning agency, prepares and administers the state bonding requests on behalf of the ten regional park implementing agencies. Each agency is allocated a percentage of the total bonding budget based on the agency’s population and the percent- age of park and trail visits that are non-local users.

Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails System

The Greater Minnesota Regional Park System is an emerging entity. While counties and cities in greater MN have managed parks and trails of regional significance for many years, there was no overarching agency to coordinate efforts until 2010 when the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Coalition was established.

Additionally, in 2013 the Minnesota Legislature created the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Com- mission to undertake system planning and provide recom- mendations to the legislature for specific grants funded by the Legacy Amendment (Minnesota Statutes, 85.536).

An inventory of the Greater MN Regional Parks and Trails System is underway and will include the newly established criteria for “regionally significant.”

no separate request

-

see state parks and trails

request for local & regional grants program

While Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails have not his- torically requested separate bonding funds, this sytem has received vital funds through the DNR’s Local and Regional Grant Program, when funded. Therefore the state parks and trails system request for the grants program should be considered a priority to ensure fund- ing for the greater Minnesota system.

to ensure fund- ing for the greater Minnesota system. Quarry Regional Park in Stearns County LEGISLATIVE-CITIZEN

Quarry Regional Park in Stearns County

LEGISLATIVE-CITIZEN COMMISSION ON MN RESOURCES

In late October, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) recommended 72 projects totaling $28.9 million to the 2014 Min- nesota Legislature for funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

The Parks & Trails Council is disappoint- ed that none of the DNR’s requested $2.2 million for state parks and trails acquisi- tion and only $1.5 million of the Metro Parks’ $2.25 million request was funded.

We urge the legislature to fund all, or part, of these requests should funds become available prior to the close of the 2014 legislative session.

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA B O N D I N G S E S S I

2014 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

BONDING SESSION

School Trust Fund Lands

land acquisition - $20 million

SUPPORTS FULL DNR REQUEST WITH ADDED PROVISION TO USE A PORTION OF THE FUNDS FOR TRAIL EASEMENTS/LEASES

Background In 1858, when Minnesota became a state, the federal government granted sections 16 and 36 of every township, or their equivalent, to the state as School Trust Fund Lands. The Minnesota Constitution established the Permanent School Fund to ensure the lands’ use as a long-term source of funds for public education in the state. Currently, approximately 2.5 million acres in Minnesota are designated as Permanent School Trust Land.

Today, the DNR manages these lands on behalf of the School Trust Fund (STF) and is directed to maximize the long-term revenue that they generate from mineral leases, timber sales and the sale of land to private owners.

Riparian Land Sales Recently, with funding for public schools being a challenging issue, some leaders began looking to increase the revenue be- ing generated for the STF by selling lands located along the banks of water. Last year, the legislature accommodated this desire by no longer requiring legislative approval prior to such sales.

Protected Lands within STF However, there are a significant number of parcels (75,500 acres) within the STF inventory that simply cannot generate any revenue for the STF due to their location within protected areas such as Scientific Natural Areas or Wildlife Management Areas, which prohibit their sale to pri- vate owners or from having any resources extracted.

The legislature requested that the DNR develop a plan to compensate the STF for these lands. As such, the DNR, for the first time, has made a recommendation that the Governor include $20 million in his 2014-15 capital bonding budget to buy these lands of high natural resource or rec- reational value from the STF, to be owned by the DNR for continued management as protected areas.

The Parks & Trails Council fully supports this recommendation. Furthermore, we believe this approach should not only be applied to those lands that are not currently generating revenue for the STF, but also to lands that are generating minimal return for the STF such as a number of hiking

trails where a small lease fee is collected from nonprofit organizations maintaining the trails. By making such lands eligible for purchase using this bonding appropriation, the DNR could protect authorized trails in perpetuity for the public’s use and benefit.

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota Proposals:

We encourage the Legislature to support the DNR’s request for $20 million to compensate the School Trust Fund for lands of high natu- ral resource or recreational value. Furthermore, we encourage the Legislature to enable the DNR to use this appropriation to purchase permanent easements and/or the maximum 50-year leases from the STF on those lands where current trails exist or are authorized or proposed.

where current trails exist or are authorized or proposed. Superior Hiking Trail © Gary Alan Nelson

Superior Hiking Trail © Gary Alan Nelson

Issue Update

PolyMet mining project could set precedent that impacts parks and trails

Minnesota is on the brink of a major decision that will impact the future of mining in the state for decades to come. On Dec. 14, 2013, a 2,200-page analysis (SDEIS) on the environmental impact for a new kind of mining project, pro- posed by PolyMet Mining, Inc. near the Boundary Water Canoe Wilderness Area (BWCAW), was released for public re- view and input. Minnesotans have until March 13, 2014 to provide comments.

Shortly after the SDEIS was released, The Parks & Trails Council joined with 26 other environmental groups to request an extension for the comment period

from 90 days to 180 days. This request was denied. Environmental groups have raised significant concerns about the impact that sulfide mining, which has never been done in the state, will have on Minnesota’s natural resources.

Parks & Trails Council is concerned about the potential impacts that the PolyMet project could have on the BW- CAW as well as the precedent it sets for opening future sulfide mines near other parks and trails. Another sulfide mine is already being proposed within the Rainy River watershed, which flows through Voyageurs National Park. Sulfide min-

ing has increased potential for leaching harmful toxins into connected water- ways, which affects humans, fish, birds, and other wildlife. If such contamination leaches into the waterways in parks and trails, the very places that Minnesotans have worked hard to protect become ir- reparably harmed.

Parks & Trails Council is urging caution and a thorough review of the impacts. The full SDEIS is available on the DNR website—www.dnr.state.mn.us and search “PolyMet”

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (EIS) TIMELINE FOR POLYMET MINE

EIS Scoping Draft EIS Oct 2005 Oct 2009
EIS Scoping
Draft EIS
Oct 2005
Oct 2009

Comments considered/ Decision to prepare Supplemental DEIS June 2010

Comments considered/ Decision to prepare Supplemental DEIS June 2010
Comments considered/ Decision to prepare Supplemental DEIS June 2010
Comments considered/ Decision to prepare Supplemental DEIS June 2010
considered/ Decision to prepare Supplemental DEIS June 2010 Supplemental DEIS released for public input Dec 2013
considered/ Decision to prepare Supplemental DEIS June 2010 Supplemental DEIS released for public input Dec 2013

Supplemental DEIS released for public input Dec 2013 - Mar 2014

DEIS released for public input Dec 2013 - Mar 2014 Final EIS TBD Adequacy determination/ Record
Final EIS TBD
Final EIS
TBD

Adequacy determination/ Record of decision TBD

EIS TBD Adequacy determination/ Record of decision TBD Magney Circle Event Recap Alpine climber/photographer Jimmy

Magney Circle Event Recap

Alpine climber/photographer Jimmy Chin amazed us with his awe-inspiring photos

Last fall, a group of Magney Circle members enjoyed an exclusive reception with award-winning mountaineering photographer Jimmy Chin at Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis.

The event was in partnership with the North Face speaker series and Midwest Mountaineering, who generously donated all event proceeds to the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota.

Rudi Hargesheimer, a former P&TC board member and employee at Midwest

Mountaineering facilitated a fascinating discussion with Jimmy Chin about his experiences in capturing awe-inspiring images of professional mountain climbers.

Chin’s work inspires a deep appreciation for both the awe-inspiring mountain landscapes he visits and the human ca- pacity to push beyond vertical boundaries.

Chin grew up in Mankato, MN and started his love affair with alpine adven- tures on the slopes at Mount Kato.

Named in honor of Parks & Trails Council founder, Judge C. R. Magney, the Magney
Named in honor
of Parks &
Trails Council
founder, Judge
C. R. Magney,
the Magney
Circle consists
of members
who help to advance the mission of
P&TC with a generous contribution of
$500 or more each year. Magney Circle
members are invited to special events
during the year. To join, visit
www.parksandtrails.org/join_donate

Chin was excited to hear about Parks & Trails Council’s joint project with the Minnesota Climbers Association to acquire outstanding boulders at Banning State Park for people to connect with the outdoors through climbing.

Upcoming Gallery Event “A is for Afton, Z is for Zippel Bay” Artwork inspired by

Upcoming Gallery Event

“A is for Afton, Z is for Zippel Bay” Artwork inspired by MNs State Parks

Mixed media works by Robyn Beth Priestley

May 1 - June 1, 2014 at the AZ Gallery in Lowertown 308 Prince Street St. Paul, MN 55101 (hours Th-Fr 5-8pm; Sat-Sun 9am-3pm or by appt.)

An exhibition of works inspired by Min- nesota’s State Parks, “A is for Afton, Z is for Zippel Bay” is a series of 26 works,

one for each letter of the alphabet that explores the ecology and environments of our favorite special places. The pieces are created using hand-drawn, hand-cut and printed block prints, which are mounted then painted, each one is unique. Each work will be accompanied by text written by Robyn beth Priestley and Mary Olson.

Robyn Beth Priestley is a former employ- ee of the Parks & Trails Council, a Min- nesota Master Naturalist and is currently an arts administrator and professional illustrator.

For more information, contact Robyn Beth Priestley at robynturtle@gmail.com or the AZ Gallery at 651-224-3757.

Robyn Beth Priestley is a recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Min- nesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Legacy Amende- ment’s Arts and Culture Heritage Fund.

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota is a proud member of the Minnesota Environmental Fund,
Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
is a proud member of the
Minnesota Environmental Fund,
a workplace giving option comprised
of 23 environmental nonprofits
working to protect, conserve and
restore Minnesota’s environment.
Visit the website to see if you can
donate through your workplace or to
find out how to add your workplace
to the program.
www.MNENVIROFUND.org

Donor Update

Medtronic matches employees/retirees donations up to $50,000

Medtronic recently began matching char- itable contributions made by its retirees up to $50,000. The program is designed to reinforce the importance of supporting local communities.

We would like thank Medtronic for pro- viding this inspiring opportunity and for all the Medtronic employees/retirees who take advantage of it.

This new program was brought to our attention by our board member, Keith Fester, who is retired from Medtronic. When he heard about the opportunity, he was inspired to donate a significant gift, knowing it would turn into two signifi- cant gifts. “And I can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Fester.

If you are a Medtronic employee/retiree you can visit the Medtronic website for more details.

If your employer has a matching gift pro- gram, please let us know so we can share with our members.

Thank you to our corporate & business sponsors

members. Thank you to our corporate & business sponsors www.midwestmtn.com Minnesota TRAILS A Parks & Trails
members. Thank you to our corporate & business sponsors www.midwestmtn.com Minnesota TRAILS A Parks & Trails

www.midwestmtn.com

to our corporate & business sponsors www.midwestmtn.com Minnesota TRAILS A Parks & Trails Journal /
Minnesota TRAILS A Parks & Trails Journal / MnTrails.com www.mntrails.com
Minnesota
TRAILS
A Parks & Trails Journal
/
MnTrails.com
www.mntrails.com
Board of Directors Executive Committee Mike Tegeder, President Robert O. Erickson, Treasurer Timothy Eschweiler,
Board of Directors
Executive Committee
Mike Tegeder, President
Robert O. Erickson, Treasurer
Timothy Eschweiler, Secretary
Kathy Bonnifield, Director at large
Andrew Brantingham, Director at large
Julie Gugin, Director at large
Mark Larson, Director at large
Tom Pavey, Director at large
Non-Profit Org
U.S. Postage
PAID
Twin Cities, MN
Permit #4936
Parks & Trails Council of MN
275 E. 4th St., Suite #250
St. Paul, MN 55101-1626
(651) 726-2457 or (800) 944-0707
www.parksandtrails.org
Directors
Richard “Dick” Brainerd
Kathy Connelly
Keith Fester
Anne Flueckiger
Thomas A. Gump
Verónica Jaralambides
Bruce Johnson
Mary Merrill Anderson
Emily Nesvold
John Oldendorf
Tom Stoa
Honorary Directors
Rollis Bishop
Sen. David Durenberger
Thomas T. Dwight
Martin Kellogg
David Minge
Mike Prichard
Peter Seed
Staff & Consultants

Joe Bagnoli Government Relations Consultant

Vicki Dunlop Database Administrator

Brett Feldman

Brett Feldman Connect with us on Facebook!

Connect with us on Facebook!

Executive Director

facebook.com/ParksAndTrails

Lisa Filter External Relations Director

Beth Hynes Database Administrator

Jess Mann Administrative Assistant

Andrew Oftedal Policy Research Consultant

Sarah Psick Government Relations Consultant

Steve Young Land Acquisition Consultant

Special Places is published three times a year by the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota Lisa Filter, editor