Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed to promote the public support and appreciation of parks and trails.
For 35 years, we’ve been working tirelessly to:
- Promote park-friendly policies
- Participate in parks and trails planning
- Protect the Mississippi River and the land around it
- Preserve open spaces within our urban community
As a policy oriented group, you can help us by:
- Becoming a member. The more members we have, the more weight our organization has when encouraging policy makers to support parks and trails.
- Getting involved. Attend a meeting, with or without speaking, or write a letter or email to show your support.
- Giving financial support. Use your wallet to promote and protect the parks and trails.
President: Dan Marckel
Vice President: Scott Ramsay
Treasurer: Andy Capistrant
Truman W. Porter
Ex Officio Members
Dave Durenberger, Retired, United States Senator, Minnesota
Mike Hahm, Director, Parks and Recreation, St. Paul
Mark McCabe, Director, Parks and Recreation, Ramsey County
Reuben Collins, St. Paul Public Works
Rachel Hinztman, Dept. of Natural Resources
Tony Wotzka, MN Dept. of Transportation
How Friends of the Parks and Trails Began
In 1984 developers proposed building housing units in the middle of Hidden Falls – Crosby Farm Regional Park. A group of citizens banded together to protect this marvelous park. When the housing proposal was defeated, the group continued to meet. The St. Paul Foundation provided startup funding, via a grant, to establish a permanent organization in 1985.
Work and Accomplishments in 35 Years of Progress
- 1985, the Friends initiated a study of the St. Paul and Ramsey County park systems “A Plan for Parks, Trails, and Open Space” to educate the public on park policy.
- This Parks Plan led to the establishment of Park Commissions in St. Paul and Ramsey County and the amendment of the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County charters for “no net loss” of parkland. This study continues to be a seminal visionary document in park, trail and open space planning and management.
- Donations through the Annual Tree Sale have added over 7,500 trees to parks in St. Paul, Ramsey County and the entire Twin Cities metropolitan area.
- Led efforts for the Gateway Trail connection to downtown St. Paul and many other trail connections throughout Ramsey County.
- Restored five and one half miles of Mississippi River bluffs to ecological health by removing exotic plants.
- Sponsored a City of St. Paul ordinance setting up a process if park lands or facilities are leased.
- Study group in conjunction with McKnight Foundation on the Save Open Space project for the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) area which secured the Rice Creek Regional Park and other trail corridors.
- Led the effort to have MNDOT build a pedestrian/bicycle tunnel under the ramps for I-35E as the new I-35E bridge was built and continue to make sure pedestrian and bicycle connections are included in all bridges to create a bicycle and pedestrian transportation network for work and recreation.
- Worked with Metro Airport Commission to assure wetland mitigation was completed at Pickerel Lake to compensate for filling flood plain at the Downtown Airport.
- Prepared and published a Park Directory for all public lands within Ramsey County.
- Studied and worked with St. Paul on the Parkland Dedication Ordinance, which is the first ordinance in the state for an already-developed city.
- Today, Friends of the Parks has grown to hundreds of members. Please join us.
Vision of the Friends
Mission of the Friends
- To promote public support and appreciation for parks and open space.
- To educate the public and examine the goals and priorities of park development.
- To identify, protect and enhance environmentally significant areas.
- To promote establishment and development of quality parks, trails and bikeways.
- To provide a vehicle for citizens to examine public policies that affect parks, trails and open space.