Friends of the Parks and Trails, St. Paul and Ramsey County

Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County, Minnesota

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2014 Tree & Shrub Sale
Order by April 21, pick up trees May 3!

Donate Trees & Memorial Trees to Parks
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Tax deductible!

Tree Sale 2014: Order Today

Trees and shrubs for sale, order by April 21, pick up your order Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Donate trees to the parks with your order, you get a tax deduction and don't even have to plant, park staff will do that for you. Plus a generous matching bequest from Paula Culp will upsize the donated trees to the parks at no cost to you!

A great selection of trees and shrubs, old favorites like Red Oak, Birch and Black Hills Spruce. New selections like Easy Elegance Snowdrift Rose (white) and Ohio Buckeye (tree).

Note: Our "Rosa Carefree Sunshine" (yellow rose) order did not get filled; we have changed to "Easy Elegance Snowdrift Rose" (white) we will contact you by email about the order.

Note: Our "Mini Snowflake Mockorange" is SOLD OUT.


DNR to Let Loose Developers in Mississippi River Corridor

The MN Department of Natural Resources will leave development decisions to each local government in defined "Critical Areas" like the Mississippi River without citizen input. In the past this has been an environmental disaster. Please read our letter DNR to Let Loose Developers in Mississippi River Corridor and contact your state officials.


Canadian Pacific Railroad Without Permits Twice Tried to Fill in Pigs Eye Lake Near Heron Rookery

Canadian Pacific Railroad is trying to fill in Pigs Eye Lake without permits needed to increase length of trains in the yard by Pigs Eye. St. Paul residents have stopped industrial development from the rail and barge companies on Pigs Eye for 40 years because of environmental problems brought by the development from filling in flood plain which raised the river levels, pollution and removing habitat for eagles and herons. The current strategy seems to be ignoring the law and building in the flood plain without permits. This action could be the opening salvo of the Mississippi River Corridor "Critical Area" pro-development strategy by corporations.


St. Paul Bikeways Plan Adds 200+ Miles

St. Paul has a Bikeways Plan up for comment that adds over 200 miles to its current bike routes. Public comment until April 30th, check the city website link in the headline.


"Park Notes" Newsletter March 2014:

  • Parks Lose a Friend: David M. Lilly, Board Member, Died Feb 12
    David encouraged beautification of parks along with increasing access to the Mississippi River by citizens.

  • Volunteer for Park Patrol in Como Regional Parks
    Looking for several people to help at Como Park to create a safe and welcoming environment for park visitors.

  • St. Paul Bikeways Plan
    Public comment is due by April 30 for a city wide Bikeways Plan. The plan recommends developing 214 additional miles of bikeways for a total of 358 miles.

  • Shirley Erstad, New Executive Director of the Friends
    Get to know our new Director, read her bio, meet her at the Tree Sale!

  • Elm Trees Past, Present, Future
    The St. Paul Tree Advisory Panel tracks Elms in the city. with a project by students from the University of St. Thomas to promote the value of large trees and encourage their care and preservation.

Current Issues:

  • Changes in the City of St. Paul Park Land Leasing: Past leasing abuses for private benefit led to a restriction of a five year lease limit on park land. The City wishes to change this time limit to encourage private capital investment in park infrastructure such as restaurants, marinas, etc.

  • Ford Plant Development: will it have parks, trails, how is it configured?
    The Ford plant site is 148 acres and will be redeveloped after testing for pollution problems. The Ford truck plant buildings are currently being demolished. There should be parkland available from the development. We are monitoring the public process.

  • Designated park land zoning in St. Paul: In St. Paul's comprehensive plan parks are to be zoned as park land instead of zoning of park lands for other uses.

  • Park land dedication in St. Paul and other cities: How are the new MN Legislature statutes on park land dedication to be applied to MN Charter Cities and other cities.

  • Dickerman Park: Will it get funding through the Central Corridor transit funds?
    September: One landowner next to the park will remove encroachments from a previous school tenant.

  • 35E Cayuga project pedestrian and bicycle access:
    Gateway Trail bridge removed, what mitigation needs to be done to connect neighborhoods on both sides of the freeway.

  • Arden Hills Army Training Site (AHATS), (formerly TCAAP) The last large open property in Ramsey County is now being surplused by the Federal General Services Administration (GSA). Part is used by the MN National Guard.
    • 2013: A 49 acre wildlife corridor is to be transferred to Ramsey County for a wild life corrider to AHATS.
    • 2010: Negotiations for a 110 acre North-South trail right of way between AHATS and the surplused property underway.
    • 2008: 113 acres of property along Rice Creek was transferred to Ramsey County and is open as a park with a canoe route!

Mississippi River Corridor Plan

AKA "The Great River Passage Master Plan" is up for public comment. The plan links, topics and public comment period dates are at GreatRiverPassage.org. The plan has good things and bad in our view, please check out our comments (PDF). The plan will affect the Mississippi River front, bluff and flood plain developments for decades.


St. Paul Park Land Dedication Ordinance

In 2007, the City of St. Paul passed an ordinance requiring that new development in the city contribute either cash or land for the park system. This requirement helps provide for the increased need for recreation opportunities, parks, and open spaces that accompany new development. The 2007 ordinance based its requirements on the number of new parking spaces that are provided by the new development. The ordinance is now being amended and that requirement for new parking will be changed. Most of the municipalities in Minnesota have parkland dedication ordinances.

There was a public hearing before the Planning Commission on February 10 regarding the amendments to the parkland dedication ordinance. The Friends made the following recommendations: Currently in the ordinance there is a discount of 2/3 for cash instead of land. We are recommending that there should be no discount.

We also recommend that a 10 percent donation of land (or cash) be made at the time of platting of the land. Currently, the ordinance requires a 2 percent donation at the time of platting and 7 percent at the time of building permits. We believe that a 10 percent donation when the land is platted would be especially helpful on large parcels of lands such as the Ford property. This change would improve the current practice where the city gets little bits of property when the land is platted and then later when building permits are issued.

Here is the proposed amended ordinance with the Friends recommendations in red, and justification of our recommendations in blue. Park Land Dedication Changes


Local Nature Center Programs and Events

Maplewood Nature Center Programs and Events

Tamarak Nature Center Programs and Events

Find a Park in Ramsey County

Park Volunteer and Public Service Awards

Mississippi River Bluff Restoration & Buckthorn Removal

Links About our Parks


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