Minnesota State Water Trails

50-Year Anniversary Local Grants

Program purpose:

State Water Trails Anniversary Logo2013 is the 50th anniversary of the Minnesota State Water Trails system, the first and largest in the nation. State Water Trails are recreational routes on waterways that are managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. They include a network of public water accesses, campsites and rest areas. They thrive on the support of local units of government, paddling clubs, nonprofits and outfitters.

Contrary to national declines in outdoor recreation participation, canoe and kayak registrations in Minnesota have continued to increase. In fact, kayak registrations increased 56% from 2008-2012. However, many canoe and kayak owners have either never heard of or do not know much about the Minnesota State Water Trails system.

This anniversary year is an ideal opportunity for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to increase marketing efforts with the ultimate goal of increased public awareness and participation.

Learn more about the state water trails anniversary.

DNR will provide a series of local grants to user groups, communities and outfitters that will plan and implement 50-year anniversary promotional events and projects scattered around the state, throughout the open water season. DNR will not be expected to participate in planning or implementation, but may be invited.

State Statute 84.0846 provides statutory authority for these grants if the events include an educational purpose. Examples of educational topics include paddling safety, trip planning skills and resources, stewardship and aquatic invasive species prevention. DNR will provide outreach materials to grant recipients that they are expected to use, and can provide educational materials to grant recipients if requested.

Eligible applicants:

Local units of government, nonprofit organizations, and watercraft outfitters.

Eligible projects / events:

  • Public canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating events on State Water Trails.
  • Adopt-a-River cleanups on State Water Trails.

Applicants are encouraged to propose additional tasks or activities if they will improve the results of their event/project.

The state is not obligated to award a grant or complete the project, and the state reserves the right to cancel the request if it is considered to be in its best interest.

Grant funding available:

DNR has dedicated a total of up to $15,000 in Water Recreation funds. A number of grants will be distributed, and grant amounts will depend on the type and level of requests. Not all project proposals will be funded.

Preference will be given to projects related to the Minnesota, St. Croix, Big Fork and Little Fork Rivers, which were legislatively designated in 1963 as "Canoe and Boating Routes" (now called "Minnesota State Water Trails").

Promotional outreach:

Applicants may plan to promote their events prior to knowing whether they receive a grant. Therefore, applicants may use the DNR's 50 year anniversary icon, only if its use is pre-approved by DNR program staff listed below. Applicants may link to the Minnesota State Water Trails website. Successful applicants (grantees) will be provided with additional DNR outreach materials (i.e. news releases and/or media talking points, posters, temporary tattoos, bumper stickers, etc.) and guidelines on how they may be used.

Additional information:

For complete information about project requirements, reporting, eligible expenses, legal liability, the competitive review and selection process, and more, please read the full RFP.

Download the full RFP This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Application process:

The complete application must be received by 4:30 p.m. Central Time on May 20, 2013.

Download the application form This link leads to an Word document.

Email the application, certificate of insurance, and any attachments as one PDF file (all pages 8 1/2" by 11" in dimension) to watertrails.dnr@state.mn.us.

Paper submission of applications will not be accepted unless specifically arranged with program staff in advance of the due date.

After submission, make sure you have received a confirmation email that your application has arrived in a useable form by the due date. Applications submitted in an unusable format will not be considered for funding.

If there are any questions about submitting the application, please contact the program staff below.

Program staff contact information:

Erik Wrede, State Water Trails Coordinator
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Road, Box 52
St. Paul, MN 55155
Tel: 651-259-5624