This program exists to provide grants to local units of government to promote development of regionally significant trails outside the seven-county metropolitan area. Funding for this grant program is from "In Lieu Of" lottery proceeds. This program is established in Minnesota Statutes 85.019.
Eligible projects include acquisition and development of trail facilities outside the seven-county metropolitan area that are considered of regional or statewide significance. Acquisition projects require a perpetual easement for recreational purposes. Development projects require a 20 year maintenance commitment by the project sponsor.
Eligible applicants include counties, cities, and townships.
Level of assistance
Grants are reimbursement based up to 75 percent of 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 $300,000.
Grant funding available
State funding available for FY 2025 is a portion of $1.1 million from “In Lieu Of” lottery proceeds. This funding is divided between three Park and Trail grant programs. This funding is subject to appropriation from the MN Legislature and signature of the Governor.
Priority for trail project funding will be given to projects that develop trails of significant length. Significant considerations also include expected amount and type of use, and quality and attractiveness of natural and cultural resources.
The Department of Natural Resources will review and rank applications during the spring of 2024. Grant awards will be announced in the summer of 2024.
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 2025 appropriations must be completed no later than June 30, 2026.
How to apply
The completed application is due March 29, 2024. If you would like feedback on your application, please submit it by March 8, 2024. Grant application materials are linked below.
Dan Golner, Grants Specialist Coordinator, 651-259-5599
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Road, Box 39
Saint Paul, MN 55155