More than $10 million in grants are available to fund infrastructure and other enhancements for Greater Minnesota’s regional parks and trails, including $750,000 to make them more inviting and accessible to underserved communities and people with mobility or other challenges.

Two Douglas County parks would be eligible to apply for the funding – Lake Brophy Park and Kensington Rune Stone Park.

Douglas County has been very successful in its grant applications over the years, according to the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, which recommends the grants to the State Legislature. Lake Brophy Park received $930,746 last year and $130,000 in 2016. Kensington Rune Stone Park received $802,480 in 2017.

Online applications are being accepted from April 1 to July 30 by the trails commission, which was established in 2013.

“COVID-19 precautions during the past year resulted in a tremendous increase in visitors to Greater Minnesota’s designated regional parks and trails, many of them being first-time users,” said GMRPTC Executive Director Renee Mattson. “This round of grants is intended to continue engaging those users, with $750,000 set aside to further attract and accommodate citizens in underserved communities. People are more likely to take part in outdoor recreation if they feel welcome and have good experiences, and that’s the environment these funds are intended to enhance.”

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Funding is provided by tax dollars from the state’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment of 2008. The available grant total for this year, which will be awarded for Fiscal Year 2023, is $10,128,850.

Since 2014 the GMRPTC has awarded more than $52 million in grants to over 50 regional parks and trails across Greater Minnesota, which completed an application process to be designated as regionally significant. Combined with $20 million in community matches, grants are used to fund infrastructure improvements, land acquisitions, new facilities, trail rehabilitation and more.

“Our state’s beautiful parks and trails are a treasure for people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Mattson. “The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission is pleased to play a role in helping make these areas available to everyone.”

The grant application form, as well as information about the commission as a whole, may be found at www.gmrptcommission.org.