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Trails & Open Space Partnership

Description: The Trails and Open Space Partnership (TOSP), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, is a coalition of over 50 agencies and organizations working to achieve the vision of a "continuous linear trail and open space system along the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities metro area that protects the corridor's natural, cultural, and economic resources" as described in the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area (MISS) Comprehensive Management Plan.

The NPS, with the support of the Metropolitan Council, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Parks and Trail Council established the TOSP in the Fall of 1996 to help local communities in the MISS realize this important vision.

Geographic area covered: The TOSP operates within the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area within the St. Paul/Minneapolis metropolitan area. The 72-mile stretch of the river encompasses a variety of public places administered by our partners including state and local agencies, and organizations.

List of partners and relationships: The National Park Service facilitates the TOSP. Partners include: Metropolitan Council, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Parks and Trails Council, Minnesota Department of Transportation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Community Development Agency, Trust for Public Land, Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, National Audubon Society, Friends of the Parks and Trails, Friends of the Mississippi River, Great River Greening, Midtown Greenway Coalition, 25 local communities, and 5 counties.

Accomplishments to date: The TOSP has successfully helped build consensus and create awareness for its vision to local communities, the State Legislature, U.S. Congress, and various national organizations and decision-makers. This was accomplished primarily through the development of promotional tools and public outreach.

Over $7 million in state and federal funding has been received for various projects due primarily to the coordinated efforts of TOSP members and the individual project's relationship to the overall vision.

The TOSP has produced the Connections to the River Map, the MISS Trail User Guide, and the Open Space Opportunities Map.

Key success factors:

  1. Collaboration has proven to be a useful tool to achieve both individual and corridor-wide goals, in addition to helping resolve conflicting issues.
  2. Significant commitment of resources by NPS and key partners.
  3. Strong partnering skills by NPS and all the partners.
  4. Partners have mutual goals and visions.

Frustrations: Partners want the NPS to lobby for state and federal funding. NPS programs/systems (PMIS, PMDS, Maximo, etc.) need to better accommodate partnership work. Difficulty in determining the amount of resources provided by partners.

Most important lessons learned to date:

  1. Partnership needs strong commitment of resources from NPS and partners to achieve success.
  2. The necessity of good planning. Preparing meeting agendas in advance and the distribution of meeting notes contributes to better participation and follow up.

What would you do differently next time: Delegate more to initial partners, especially at the beginning. Encourage partners to take the lead more often.

Suggested resource materials: Connections to the River Map. MISS Trail User Guide. Open Space Opportunities Map and GIS data base. Trail User Guide on NPS website:

For more information:

Name: JoAnn Kyral
Affiliation: Superintendent, MISS
Phone/Fax: 651-290-4160

Name: Susan Overson
Affiliation: Landscape Architect/Park Planner, MISS
Phone/Fax: 651-290-3030, ext. 225

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising __; Capital Improvements __; Facility Management __; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery __; Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration _X_; Cultural Resources _X_; Education/Interpretation _X_; Arts __; Information Services __; Transportation __; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning __; Tourism __; Community Relations __;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: JoAnn Kyral Date posted: 8/5/03
Phone: 651-290-4160

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