Enjoy Minnesota’s Parks and Trails

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” -John Muir, Environmentalist
Minnesota has the best parks and trails system in the United States, which give us opportunities to experience everything nature has to offer. From the beautiful fall colors to the picturesque lakeside views, Minnesota is full of beauty that everyone can enjoy.
• Minnesota has 74 state parks and recreation areas that total more than 267,000 acres.
• In the Metro area alone, there are six state parks, including Afton, Fort Snelling, Interstate, Lake Maria, Minnesota Valley Rec. Area, Wild River and William O’Brien.
• In Ramsey and Washington counties there are over twenty county and regional parks. Visit www.co.ramsey.mn.us/parks/index.asp (Ramsey County) and www.co.washington.mn.us/ (Washington County).
In 2008, Minnesota voters showed their dedication to the Great Outdoors by passing a constitutional amendment that dedicated funding to parks and trails, clean water, natural resources and outdoor heritage projects. A Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the sales tax revenue resulting from the constitutional amendment (during the 2011 Legislative Session, $78 million was appropriated to the fund). That funding will be used for acquisition, development, restoration, and maintenance of park and trail facilities that are considered of regional or statewide significance. All park projects must meet requirements for perpetual outdoor recreational use.
If you would like to track how those dollars are being invested, visit http://www.legacy.leg.mn/. On this site you can track the progress of hundreds of funded projects, see how funds are being invested in your community, and learn how you can apply for funds.
To see everything the state has to offer, visit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks. There you can find a park to visit, information on the park, and how to set a reservation to visit.
I also encourage you to explore the parks and trails in your own neighborhoods. Visit the website for your community, or call city hall, to find out more information. For local information, visit your city or country website.
I would also like to thank everyone involved in the Gateway State Trail Century Avenue Bridge construction. On Oct. 18, at 10 AM, there will be a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, which everyone is welcome to join. This is a project I worked on at the Capitol and I am excited to see its completion. The bridge will increase access to the trail and provide safety for walkers, runners, bikers and rollerbladers while they enjoy the Gateway Trail.
The trip to the Great Outdoors can be fun, inexpensive and a wonderful opportunity to bond with kids. I suggest taking the family out to explore Minnesota. Get out there and enjoy!
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions about any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.

Senator Chuck Wiger
Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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