Minnesota snowmobile trails assistance program

Program background

In 1973 the Minnesota Legislature delegated the responsibility of administering a cost-sharing program for the development and maintenance of snowmobile trails to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The goal of this program was the creation and maintenance of locally initiated trails that were financially assisted by the state.

This program is popularly known as the grants-in-aid—or GIA—program. The DNR has been delegated the responsibility of administering the funds appropriated by the legislature for the GIA program.

Minnesota's GIA snowmobile trail system has grown to over 21,000 miles. The Minnesota Snowmobile Trails Assistance Program provides funding mostly for maintenance and grooming, though trail improvement grants for snowmobile trails are also available.

Maintenance and grooming grants

Maintenance and grooming grants-in-aid are awarded to local governments (often county units), referred to as the sponsor, to ensure that GIA snowmobile trails at specific times in the year are prepared and ready for use, adequately groomed, and closed at the end of the season.

Through these grants-in-aid, the DNR effectively purchases the service of well-groomed and maintained snowmobile trails. Disbursement of grant dollars is based upon the completion of the four benchmarks listed further down this page.


Deadline: May 15
Maintenance and grooming application form


Benchmark 1: trail completion

Deadline: December 15
Trail completion benchmark form This form certifies that the trail is open and ready for use.

Benchmark 2: grooming certification

Deadline: February 15
Grooming certification benchmark form This form certifies that the trails have been properly groomed from opening day through January 15.

Benchmark 3: grooming certification

Deadline: April 15
Grooming certification benchmark form This form certifies that the trails have been properly groomed from January 16th through the end of the season.

Benchmark 4: trail closure/application submission

Deadline: May 15
Trail closure/application submission certification form This form certifies that the entire trail system covered by the agreement has been satisfactorily groomed and an application for the next year has been submitted.

Other relevant forms

Trail improvement grants

While the majority of GIA funding is dedicated to maintaining the existing GIA trails throughout Minnesota, grants-in-aid for trail improvements are also available. These grants are reimbursement-based where eligible costs are matched at up to 75 percent. Total project costs must be at least $10,000 and projects must be matched at 25% of the total project costs. (For example, a $10,000 project would be funded $7,500 and require a $2,500 match.)


Deadline: FY25 applications are postponed until funding is available.

Trail improvement project application

Trail improvement grant - what permits might I need?

Trail improvement grant RFP

Request for reimbursement This form is used when requesting reimbursement for eligible expenses.

Work log This form is used to document eligible labor, transportation, and equipment expenses.

Related information

Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association
Recreation grants
Snowmobiling information

Contact information

For specific trail information in your area please contact your local DNR Parks and Trails area supervisor.

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