A Legacy of Nature
Wilderness in the City is advocating for A Legacy of Nature. We believe that taking care of the Natural Resources within our unique and valuable regional parks system must be a priority, and that investments made now will help ensure a lasting legacy of high quality natural areas for future generations of people, and valuable habitat for wildlife.
Metropolitan Regional Parks System
In 1974, the State Legislature established the Regional Parks System in part to preserve and protect the most valuable remaining open spaces in the metropolitan region.
- Regional parks contain significant natural resources such as lakeshore, wetlands, hardwood forests, native prairies and groundwater recharging areas.
- Natural resources throughout our regional parks system are degraded and stressed as evidenced by poor water quality and the prolific spread of buckthorn and other invasive plants.
- Left unmanaged, the degraded conditions threaten the future of our metro forests, prairies, lakes and wetlands.
- The result is low-quality natural places for recreation and education, and wildlife habitat that doesn’t support many of species of birds and other wildlife.
Minnesotan’s approved the Legacy Amendment to support Natural Resources, however:
- Review of Parks and Trails Legacy spending for metropolitan regional parks shows up to 80% invested in built infrastructure
- This is inconsistent with the intent people had when they voted to support the Legacy Amendment, and is inconsistent guidelines defined by the 25-year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan.
To help ensure desired outcomes are achieved for the regional parks system, going forward we support:
- Not more than 20% of spending for built infrastructure including design, engineering, construction for replacement/repairs of existing facilities;
- Not less than 60% for natural resource restoration projects independent of development projects
- Construction projects much be reviewed by a qualified, independent ecology professional to assess impacts to natural resources; only those projects which have no negative impact on the natural resource base should be considered for approval
- Construction projects funded with Legacy amendment dollars must follow the highest standards for sustainable practice.
Instead of manicured treated turf…increase native gardens for pollinators and monarchs.
Instead of increasing impervious surface in our nature-based parks system…only use porous surfaces which are less harmful to water runoff.
Instead of building more and bigger buildings — minimal development footprint will cost less to maintain in years ahead.
Instead of building more to bring more people to parks — invest in outreach and transportation options to bring more people to parks.
Imagine the benefits of nature close to home — offering respite from the built world all around us.