Parks and open space are key contributors to the region’s livability, sustainability, and quality of life. Parks and open space strengthen residents’ physical, psychological, and social wellbeing by providing opportunities for recreation, stress reduction, and social interaction. Natural areas provide environmental benefits by preserving natural resources, reducing air pollution, and managing stormwater runoff.
The 2040 Regional Parks Policy Plan is the metropolitan system plan for the Regional Parks System. The Regional Parks System was created by the Legislature in 1974, and is supported by the Metropolitan Council in partnership with ten regional park implementing agencies that own and operate regional parks and trails. The Regional Parks System is one component of the greater recreation and open space system that includes local, state, and federal parks and open space areas, as well as private and nonprofit facilities. All play an important role in supporting and protecting the overall outdoor recreation system and should be recognized in your local comprehensive plan.