Parks & Trails Updates

Specific Challenges Faced by Equestrians in 2023

Upper Sioux Agency State Park and others turned over to tribal community.

DNR received $149.9 million for its Get Out More Initiative from the legislators. Ann Pierce, the DNR Director of Parks and Trails Division transferring from the Water Division, wants to spend the money on enhancing access and modernizing boat access, enhancing fisheries and fishing infrastructure, and restoring streams and modernizing water-related infrastructure. Nothing mentioned for equestrian use.                                                                                                                                                          

DNR received historic operating and capital budgets totaling more than $550 million. However, DNR Commission, Sarah Strommen said there will be a roundtable discussion on January 19 about stable and predictable base funding (on the table-raising licenses and fees).

Since 2001, MTRA has written and received Federal Recreational Trail Grant Program (FRTP) funds. There is millions of dollars involved and 10s of thousands paid by MTRA members. There is a lot of detail shared in the  February – March 2024 newsletter. The DNR is the administering agency in Minnesota and refuses to give MTRA a contract. MTRA has six (6) years of grants open. What is behind the contract refusal?

County Projects Funded by MTRA in 2023

MTRA is only funding county projects this year. The reason is explained in the February – March 2024 newsletter. County requests totaled $22,400. MTRA had $10,000 to spend, so these are the projects the Board voted to fund. Because they were not awarded the funds until December 1, 2023, most of these projects will be completed early in the spring.    

Lac Qui Parle County Park was awarded $1,000 for signage and posts.

Lyon County/Garvin Park was awarded $1,600 toward materials to build 6 stalls (per rider requests).

Nicollet County/7-Mile Creek was awarded $3,700 toward crushed limestone for the reopened trails east of the river, wood and bolts for picnic tables, and some fire rings.

Olmsted County/Chester Woods Park was awarded $1,200 for crushed aggregate on horse trails.

Stearns County/Dairyland Trail was awarded $2,500 for crushed aggregate on 14 miles of multi-use trails.