Northwoods Adventure: Legacy Amendment Celebrates Ten Years
“What’s Your Legacy?” That was the question being asked all throughout Itasca State Park this past weekend. The “What’s Your Legacy” event is a celebration of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that was passed ten years ago, which sets aside a portion of sales tax to be used for parks and trails in Minnesota.
“Here at Itasca, there is a new bike trail that has been developed with Legacy dollars,” said Paul Purman, DNR Parks and Trails Legacy Consultant. “The Bear Paw Lodge, a historic structure, has been re-developed for public use.”
Legacy dollars aren’t just used for building new parks…
“It’s always really sexy to build a new facility, but maintaining what we have is really important as well,” said Renee Mattson, Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.
Legacy dollars have been used in parks all across the region, and the application process ensures the funds go to the areas in need.
“So it’s a three-step process that’s really strenuous.” Mattson said, “but we want to make sure that those parks and trails receiving those funds really are regionally significant.”
At the Legacy celebration, families learned about the wildlife in the area, were educated on tick prevention, and even got to ride on an ATV simulation. And if you worked up an appetite at the event, they were serving delicious sandwiches and pizzas cooked over a wooden fire.
“My favorite part was this ice cream,” attendee Zach Deschene said.
But it wasn’t just about the great food…
“We’re educating the public,” Purman said, “We’re providing information about the Legacy amendment in general, as well as some of the great projects that have been funded with Legacy dollars.”
“We want to listen to people,” Bob Bierscheid, Chair of Minnesota Parks and Trails Advisory Committee, said. “How should this money be used? What can we do to make it even better than what it’s been doing thus far?”
The Legacy Amendment might not be around forever.
“The Legacy [Amendment] has a twenty-five-year life to it; unless the citizens of Minnesota decide to re-up the amendment, Legacy will go away,” Purman said.
And that’s a reality the people of Minnesota just can’t live with.
“This needs to continue. You can’t ever just build something and let it go,” Bierscheid said.
Since 2010, The Legacy Amendment has provided over $317 million in grants to parks and trails.