Local Trail Connections Program

Program purpose:

To provide grants to local units of government to promote relatively short trail connections between where people live and desirable locations, not to develop significant new trails. Funding for this grant program is from "In Lieu Of" lottery proceeds. This program is established in Minnesota Statutes 85.019.

Eligible projects:

Eligible projects include acquisition and development of trail facilities. Projects must result in a trail linkage that is immediately available for use by the general public. Trail linkages include connecting where people live (e.g. residential areas within cities, entire communities) and significant public resources (e.g. historical areas, open space, parks and/or other trails). Acquisition of trail right-of-way is eligible only when proposed in conjunction with trail development. Acquisition projects require a perpetual easement for recreational purposes. Development projects require a 20 year maintenance commitment by the project sponsor. Projects inside state park boundaries, state recreation areas, on state trail corridors and elements of the Regional Open Space System in the Twin Cities Metro System are not eligible.

Eligible applicants:

Eligible applicants include counties, cities, and townships.

Level of assistance:

Grants are reimbursement based up to 75 percent of the total eligible project costs, and recipients must provide a non-state cash match of at least 25 percent. Other state funds or grants, such as Parks and Trails Legacy Grants, or Metropolitan Council Grants cannot match these grants. Project costs must be incurred and paid before reimbursement can be made. Project costs become eligible for reimbursement once a contract agreement is established between the DNR and the grantee.

The minimum grant request is $5,000, and the maximum grant award is $150,000.

Grant funding available:

Funding available for FY 2022 is a portion of approximately $850,000 from “In Lieu Of” lottery proceeds to be divided between three Park and Trail grant programs. Additional state Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund dollars have been recommended by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and other state funding may be available but are subject to Legislative approval.

Funding priorities:

Priority for trail project funding will be given to projects that provide significant connectivity. Considerations also include trail length, expected amount and type of use, and quality and attractiveness of natural and cultural resources.

Grant awards:

The Department of Natural Resources will review and rank applications during the spring of 2021. Grant awards will be announced in the summer of 2021.

Funded Grants

Project period:

Projects cannot begin until all requested final documentation has been submitted and an agreement between the applicant and the state has been signed. Funded projects must begin promptly after an agreement has been signed. All work funded with FY 2022 appropriations must be completed no later than June 30, 2023.

How to apply:

The completed application is due March 31, 2021. Grant application materials are linked below.

Contact information:

Dan Golner, Grants Specialist Coordinator, 651-259-5599
[email protected]

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Road, Box 39
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Related DNR programs: