Parks and Trails has Plans for State’s Bikeways

Posted by Doug Shidell, February 10th, 2013

The Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota has always been at the forefront of every effort to secure new green spaces for Minnesota. For over 60 years they’ve collected money to move quickly on land purchases that have great value to the state. Then, when the slow machinery of State or local government finally frees up funds, the Council sells the land and uses money from the sale to invest again. Trails have always had a special place on the Council’s agenda. This year their agenda includes funding for 13 trail projects that meet the Council’s four main criteria:

  • The trail provides a high-quality “destination” experience
  • The trail is well located for high use
  • The trail enhances connectivity
  • The opportunity to develop the trail is dependent on quick action

The Mill Towns State Trail is a good example of their priorities: It will connect the popular Cannon Valley and Sakatah Singing Hills trails (located for high use and enhances connectivity). It will include a bridge over the Cannon River (“destination” experience) and funding is needed right now to secure a 6.5 mile right of way (development depends on quick action). 12 other trails meet the same criteria and the Parks and Trails Council is ready to move on all of them.

Their impact on some of the most important quality of life amenities in the state expands to a legislative agenda that includes restoring funding to operate State Parks and Trails and making the Legacy Funds from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment truly transformative.  Dorian Grilley, former Executive Director of the Council, reviewed “Bicycle Vacation Guide” when it first came out and told me. “Our goal is to make this book outdated as quickly as possible.” They did a great job on that front and I couldn’t have been happier about it.

Check out the Council’s website. It’s not an exciting read, but even a quick look will demonstrate just how important this venerable institution has been to those of us who need the restorative power of nature in our lives.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News, Misc