Since their founding in 1954, Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota (P&TC) has added more than 10,000 acres to Minnesota parks and trail networks. Sometimes creating a whole park or trail from scratch, but more often adding critical land within an already established park or trail corridor. 

Read on to learn more about just one of Parks & Trails Council’s many projects in 2020 – in which they secured the last large tract of tree-covered shoreline along popular Lake Shetek. This project will ultimately add 24.5 acres of rare old-growth forest, sandy beach, and lake views to Lake Shetek State Park.  

Mission:

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota’s mission is to acquire, protect and enhance critical land for the public’s use and benefit. They accomplish this mission through land acquisition, data-driven legislative advocacy, and by working with volunteer friends groups as well as local, regional and state park agencies. 

Impact:

Land of outstanding outdoor recreation quality is not cheap. But such land has incredible opportunities that everyone should have the chance to benefit from. Parks & Trials Council’s Samuel H. Morgan Land Fund provides the necessary funds to ensure they can purchase critical land when it’s urgently needed.  

This was very much the case when the Boy Scouts of America Sioux Council announced they were auctioning off their nearly 25-acre camp located on a forested peninsula of Lake Shetek In the fall of 2020. 

This land represented the last large-tract of tree-covered shoreline along popular Lake Shetek. It also happened to be located within the boundaries of Lake Shetek State Park. Unfortunately however, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was not in a position to compete at the auction due to timing and auction restraints. Meanwhile, developers understood this was prime real estate with zoning allowing for the property to be divided into five private estates. 

P&TC contemplated the importance of this land to the park and arrived at the live auction on Oct. 24 ready to compete. With the resolve of knowing that future generations relied on our success, P&TC competed against 74 other bidders, and emerged with the winning bid at $1.85 million. This unique parcel boasting over 3,000 feet of shoreline and oak trees over 200 years old is now protected for Lake Shetek State Park. 

Parks & Trails Council will hold the land in trust while they work with the MnDNR to convey it to the state park in the coming years. It could be a number of years before this happens, but in the meantime, P&TC will ensure the land remains protected as a natural place. 

Get Involved: 

  • Participate in the 2021 Scavenger HuntJune 1 – Sept 12, 2021 at most Minnesota State Parks and some regional/county parks. Minnesota’s parks have a diversity of mammals, flowers, trees, humans and birds. Can you spot them? 

To learn more about how MEF members are working together to improve access to the outdoors across Minnesota, visit the Impact page of our website.

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