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 37 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.
Want more history? Go deep into our archives!