Featured Trust Fund Projects
Paul Bunyan State Trail
The Paul Bunyan State Trail provides opportunities for hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, and snowmobiling along a 112 mile route from Brainerd to Bemidji. This trail, located along a former Burlington Northern railroad grade, was acquired and developed with $1.25 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
9,000 years of human history and a wide range of natural habitats can be seen at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park near Onamia. Almost $1 million of lottery funding has gone to this park to expand it by 292 acres, build a new campground, and rehabilitate the park's roads.
Gooseberry Falls State Park
More than $2.2 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund has gone to improve Gooseberry Falls State Park , the most visited park in the state park system. Noted for spectacular waterfalls and Lake Superior shoreline, the park has used these funds for land acquisition, trail construction, new office facilities, a sewer system, and a beautiful new visitor's center.
Heartland State Trail
The 49 mile long Heartland State Trail was one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country. Running between Park Rapids and Cass Lake, this multi-use trail benefited from an Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund grant that financed resurfacing, widening, and replacement of bridge decking.
The scenic Mississippi River valley blufflands in southeastern Minnesota is both a valuable recreational resource and home to unique natural communities. A grant from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund allowed the Department of Natural Resources to work with local governments and citizens on growth management tools to strike a proper balance between development and conservation.
Interstate State Park
In the 1890s, officials from Wisconsin and Minnesota worked together to establish the nation's first interstate park. Located along the scenic Dalles of the St. Croix River near Taylor's Falls, Interstate State Park provides opportunities for rock climbing, canoeing, white water kayaking, relaxing on an excursion boat or exploring its unique geological and biological features. Lottery funds have helped upgrade the park's trails, campgrounds, and roads.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park preserves one of the largest remnants of the maple-basswood "Big Woods" that once covered much of southeastern Minnesota. Known for its stunning diversity of spring wildflowers and spectacular fall color, the park has benefited from over $300,000 in grants from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. These grants allowed the acquisition of 185 acres of additional park land and helped build a new interpretive center.
Cannon Valley Trail
The picturesque Cannon Valley Trail winds along the Cannon River between Cannon Falls and Red Wing. After a section of the trail was damaged by erosion, the state used $175,000 in lottery funds to repair the trail and make it safe for recreational users.
St. Croix River
The St. Croix River Valley is a stunningly beautiful part of Minnesota's landscape, but increased recreation along the lower St. Croix has created a need for more public management. To protect and preserve this resource, the state used $360,000 in lottery proceeds to help research recreational uses along the riverway and write new public policies.
The Twin Cities area is defined by its rivers: the Mississippi, the Minnesota, and the St. Croix. Great River Greening is a team of nonprofit and government agencies that have joined forces to restore critical river valley habitat in the Twin Cities area. The partnership is using a $910,000 Trust Fund grant to conduct inventories of existing vegetation and other features, develop restoration plans, plant native trees, shrubs, and prairie plants, and coordinate the volunteers and contractors needed to implement these projects.
Old Mill State Park
Visitors to Old Mill State Park can watch this steam-powered mill being fired up once a year to grind flour. The rest of the year this northwestern Minnesota park features superb wildlife watching opportunities and gives the visitor a glimpse of how the area must have looked to the early European settlers over a century ago. A $200,000 allocation from the Trust Fund allowed the park to rebuild its visitor center, expand the park by 119 acres, and rehabilitate trails.
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park features the historic Forestville town site, a wide variety of wildlife, some of the state's best trout fishing, and the stalactites, stalagmites, and underground pools of Mystery Cave. Cave tours are possible thanks to a restoration project financed with $70,000 from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. An additional $450,000 from the Trust Fund allowed the expansion of the park by 71 acres and the construction of a new visitor's center.
Itasca State Park
Itasca State Park is a land of superlatives. Minnesota's oldest state park includes 32,000 acres, over 100 lakes, towering virgin forest, and, of course, the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund grants of more than $600,000 have helped develop the park's trail system, restore historic buildings, and expand by 190 acres.