Lottery proceeds help restore and enhance and state parks and trails through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the Natural Resources Fund, and the Game & Fish Fund.

Many lottery retailers are perched on the edges of Minnesota’s natural treasures, such as Carlton Gas and More, which is right on the Alex Laveau Memorial Trail segment of the Willard Munger State Trail and the entrance to Jay Cooke State Park. The trail is used by hikers, bicyclists, in-line skaters, side-by-side riders, snowmobilers, and more. Casual observers enjoying these areas may spot whitetail deer, raccoons, red foxes, porcupines, beavers and muskrats. Those more keenly observant may also spot coyotes, timber wolves, weasels, minks, bobcats and black bears.

Meanwhile, back indoors, Carlton Gas and More General Manager Gail Van Guilder jokes that her role is something like “bartender without the alcohol.” While the store employees love their regulars, they “treat everyone who walks in like someone we see every day.”

So next time you take a trip to the Munger Trail or Jay Cooke State Park, stop by Carlton Gas and More for your groceries, a chat if you like, and lottery. Van Guilder will probably ask if you want to play the Minnesota-only Gopher 5 and Northstar Cash games because she wants you to have the best odds to win.

Van Guilder and the staff may not know your name, but they will warmly welcome you as if they do.