Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

People saving special places

St. Paul, MN


The Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota exists to acquire, protect and enhance critical land for the public's use and benefit.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Brett Feldman

Main Address

275 4th St E Suite 250

St. Paul, MN 55101 USA


parks, trails, environment, conservation, land protection, natural resources, land acquisition, advocacy, Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

With the growing urgency in protecting land for the preservation of species as well as for the growing population in Minnesota, we address this need by acquiring land with outstanding natural and cultural resources for parks and trails. We also work to keep these places protected by advocating at the state capitol and building the capacity of volunteer-based friends groups who help care for them.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Land Acquisition


Building Friends Group Capacity

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Goal # 1 – Expand the impact of Parks & Trails Council's land acquisition expertise.
Acquiring land for the public's use and benefit is the cornerstone of our work, and state and local governments count on us to secure park and trail lands that are under imminent threat of sale or development. Our Samuel H. Morgan Land Acquisition Fund, which is now valued at $5 million, puts us in the position to move quickly to purchase priority trail and park lands using the strategic land acquisition plan approved by the board in 2011.

Goal #2 – Build an ever stronger base of supporters and mobilize stakeholders to affect legislative decisions.
Over the past 60 years, the P&TC has developed a reputation for being a powerful voice for parks and trails at the Minnesota Capitol thanks to our expanding membership and working relationships with grassroots community groups, industry groups, legislators and local governments from throughout the state.

Goal # 3 – Strengthen the membership base to build the people-power needed to further Parks & Trails Council's mission. Members constitute our largest segment of revenue support. We must continue to grow our membership to enable the organization to fulfill its mission. In addition, members offer not only revenue support, but credibility to our efforts. We can call on our members when a project needs extra support or when we are advocating at the capitol.
Goal # 4 – Elevate the capacity of friends' groups to be partners in achieving Parks & Trails Council's vision. By increasing the capacity of friends groups, Parks & Trails Council grows an important base of support amongst individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to our mission. Friends groups may be engaged in support of P&TC's statewide agenda because that agenda advances their goals as well as a strong statewide system. There is mutual benefit in their participation with P&TC's advocacy on specific issues. Such an investment represents a grassroots approach to our mission, in which we strengthen all Minnesota parks and trails by systematically strengthening individual parks and trails.
Goal #5 – Align organizational capacity to ensure accomplishment of the strategic goals and organizational vision and mission. Parks & Trails Council is a very lean, well-run organization that makes excellent use of the resources the community has entrusted in us. As the organization continues to evolve and take on new challenges, however, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that our staff/contractor capacity can meet organizational goals and that people and organizations that have an inclination to support our work are aware of our existence.

1 Continue to integrate our land acquisition program with our legislative advocacy.
2 Increase awareness and use of our land program among key stakeholders.
3 Assess the capacity for land acquisition among key stakeholders.
4 Become proficient on existing land acquisition grant programs so we can be a resource for entities seeking land acquisition help and resources.
5 Work with key stakeholders to ensure that public land management practices are more equitable and transparent, including the administration of grant programs.

1 Ensure the legislative committee is structured to bring together the best minds, data and science to identify issues, ideas and solutions to key issues facing Minnesota's parks and trails.
2 Develop a proactive and objective process for defining legislative priorities in a way that engages key stakeholders.
3 Broaden and deepen our strategic partnerships with legislative leadership, tourism, health care and economic development entities.
4 Develop and implement systematic plan for educating, engaging and mobilizing our base of supporters.
5 Establish Parks & Trails Council as a resource for policy research and analysis on key parks and trails issues.
6 Strengthen relationships with Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission and Metropolitan Council while continuing to work closely with the DNR.

Develop and implement a membership plan that:

A) identifies tactics to move members along our engagement continuum

B) expands our recruitment efforts to an audience that reflects the growing diversity of the state's population

1 Work with friends groups to develop a systematic method for gathering and maintaining data on friends groups working to bolster parks and trails in Minnesota.
2 Establish Parks & Trails Council as a valued resource for Friends Groups in the state.
3 Develop clear, strong and mutually beneficial relationships with key friends groups in Minnesota.
4 Initiate opportunities for friends groups to unify their efforts and learn from each other.

The Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota works in a complex and ever-changing environment where our commitment to land conservation and outdoor recreation often collides with funding shortages and political forces opposed to public land. Moving forward, the organization will adeptly navigate these challenges to build on our strong legacy of sustaining, stewarding, and conserving outdoor spaces in Minnesota.

To date, P&TC has effectively cultivated a solid base of membership support and strong partnerships with state and local leaders, while being influential at the state Capitol. With the passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008 the funding and policy decision landscape changed significantly. The growth of public resources to support parks and trails of regional and statewide significance has increased opportunities for a robust, interconnected system. Yet, at the same time it has also increased competition for these resources and given rise to a false dichotomy that pits investments in new park and trail opportunities against investments in current parks and trails. As an independent organization with a statewide perspective, P&TC is positioned as an important link among a variety of partners and stakeholders.

In the coming years, P&TC has the unique opportunity to be even more visible and influential. The organization is already recognized for its expertise and accomplishment in land acquisition, as well as for being the public voice for state parks and trails. One component of the strategic planning process was an extensive environmental scan with key stakeholders who identified ample opportunities for partnerships to advance the vision of an interconnected system of natural areas. The strategic direction set forth below builds on these opportunities while ensuring P&TC invests in its organizational assets to achieve its mission of acquiring, protecting and enhancing critical land for the public's use and benefit.

Impact of Land Acquisition:
--Key stakeholders awareness of our land program has increased
--Number of land applications from partners increased
--Number of land acquisition projects undertaken with community partners increased
--Grant guide created and used by our partners

Advanced Advocacy:
--Legislative committee members are knowledgeable and engaged
--System in place that effectively engages our supporters to get involved in the process
--Materials produced that are educational and useful for our supporters to be more involved in the legislative process

Membership Base Strengthened:
--Membership plan created

Friends Group Capacity:
--System in place for maintaining communications with Friends Groups
--Friends Groups increasingly use the resources we have created
--Friends Groups use the means we created for learning from each other.

We have created and distributed a grant guide that is being used for Friends Groups and other partners to obtain funding for their projects. We are strengthening our relationships with the DNR, Greater Minnesota and Metropolitan Council through regular meetings and annual workshops. We hired a full-time staff member to conduct research that informs our legislative agenda. We convened a Friends Group Committee that helped craft the priorities for this new initiative.

External Reviews


Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

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  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity