TOSP is a coalition of over 50 agencies and organizations working to achieve the vision of "a continuous linear trail, open space, and alternative transportation system along the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities metro area while protecting the corridor's natural, cultural, and economic resources" (Vision). This important vision was identified in the 1995 Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) for the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service. The National Park Service, with the support of the Metropolitan Council, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the MN Parks and Trails Council, established the TOSP in the Fall of 1996 to help local communities in the MNRRA corridor realize this important vision.
By Fall 2000 membership had grown to include representatives of the twenty-five local governments and seven regional implementing agencies in the 72-mile Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the University of Minnesota, and many non-profit organizations like the Trust for Public Land, the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Riverfront Corporations, the National Audubon Society, Friends of Parks, Friends of the Mississippi River, and the Midtown Greenway Coalition. Below are some additional highlights of the TOSP's accomplishments. Many of the trails along the river are part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), which, in 2000, was designated a national millennium trail by President Clinton. The TOSP's goal is to complete the MRT in the twin cities metro area by 2016, the National Park Service centennial.