Dear Friends and Members,
2021 has continued to be a year of challenges in the face of the pandemic, reinforcing the importance of parks and open space as areas of refuge, where one can exercise, play and enjoy nature in relative safety. All parks and open space have continued to endure high use as programming has begun to return to many facilities. The appetite for recreational programming has been encouraging. This surge of outdoor enthusiasm has led us to become ever more vigilant in making sure park development is equitable and environmentally sound. As a part of this, the Friends have become active members in the Legacy of Nature Alliance (LONA), a consortium of nonprofits that share an interest in preserving the natural resources of our parks and open space as diverse, native plant and wildlife habitat.
Park and trail issues we have been working on include:
- Providing input on the Battle Creek Regional Park Master Plan, which we believe has too many conflicts between the hiking and mountain bike trails.
- Advocating for Ramsey County Commissioners to follow their “No net loss of park, recreational or open space land and facilities” ordinance. Two county properties, the Ponds at Battle Creek Golf Course and a 77-acre open space adjacent to Battle Creek Regional Park are proposed to be redeveloped for affordable housing. A local Audubon group has documented a number of rare grassland bird species on the open space. We believe this parcel would be an excellent addition to the park.
- Laying the groundwork for the 2022 sesquicentennial celebration of visionary landscape architect Horace Cleveland’s first visit to the Twin Cities. Cleveland was the driving force in the preservation and development of the nation’s two top-rated parks systems.
We will continue to advocate for “no net loss” of parkland and best management practices in parks and open space, but we also want to know what is important to you or if there are inequities or deficiencies in your neighborhood parks. Send us a short email with your comments or concerns to
With the new year we intend to be more responsive to our members and more actively engage local communities in parks and trails issues. With that in mind, we are excited to announce Noah Fribley as our new Executive Advocate. Noah is completing his Masters of Environmental Policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute and has many years of experience working with like-minded nonprofits like the Aspen Institute. Noah will bring renewed vigor to the Friends and you will be hearing more from him shortly.
On behalf of the Board, I want to express our appreciation to our members, whose support allows us to advocate for St. Paul and Ramsey County parks and trails. Thank you for your part in making our work both possible and successful. To renew your membership, give a gift membership (a great stocking stuffer), or make a donation, please visit our website: https://friendsoftheparks.org/become-a-member/
Our Board wishes each of you a safe and healthy rest of 2021 and continued enjoyment of parks and trails. We look forward to a new year supporting and advocating for parks.