Met Council's Role in Regional Parks and Trails

Developing policies and the overall system plan

Monarch butterfly on blazingstar.Innovative state legislation in 1974 created the regional parks system and made the Metropolitan Council responsible for overseeing acquisition and development of regional parks. We work with 10 partner cities, counties, and special districts that own, operate, and maintain day-to-day functions at each park and trail in their jurisdiction.

All proposed policies, grants, and other park-related plans and actions are first considered by the Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission. If approved, they are forwarded to the Met Council’s Community Development Committee for consideration, and finally, the Met Council policy board.

Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission

The Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission helps the Met Council develop a long-range plan and an acquisition and development program that includes funding priorities for regional parks. The commission consists of eight members, each appointed from a combination of two Met Council districts, and a ninth member appointed as chair who serves at large. The commission works in coordination with the 10 park agencies.

Regional parks staff

Who we are

We are a team who cares deeply about connecting people to the outdoors, protecting natural resources, and working with our regional park partners to make sure everyone in the region feels welcome to our regional parks and trails. We believe in the transformative power of regional parks and trails to improve people’s lives across our region, for current and future generations. We are honored to serve this system that will last beyond all our lifetimes. We believe in the power of collaboration and partnerships as we strive to bring creativity, joy, and innovation to our work every day.

What we do

The Metropolitan Council is charged with overseeing the long-range planning, acquisition, development, outreach, and research for regional parks and trails across the metropolitan area. We work with the state legislature and our 10 regional park implementing agencies to help fund the system, which is owned and operated by our agency partners. We are the keepers of the Regional Parks Policy Plan, which we hold in common with the agencies. This strategic document provides the policy framework under which we all operate.

Values our team strives to embody in our work

  • Equity: We commit to working with our partners to dismantle racism that exists in our outdoor spaces. We strive to create anti-racist policies that promote inclusivity and equitable use in Met Council park system work through convening, outreach, policy, and research. We act courageously to support outdoor spaces welcoming to all regional park and trail visitors. 

  • Nature: Our work is founded in a love of the outdoors and a responsibility for its stewardship. We base decisions on the longterm care of our system, to grow it, protect it, and respond to the threats of climate change, while supporting its contribution to climate resiliency.

  • Creativity: We infuse our work with joy, fun, and innovation because it gets us closer to our shared goals and genuinely invites others to engage and participate in our work.

  • Responsibility: We take ownership of our work and are accountable to the residents of the region. We strive for transparency and listen for the wisdom present in all feedback. We own our successes as well as our mistakes, always with the desire to do better.

  • Relationships: We recognize that team relationships are our strongest asset. We are honest, respectful, and compassionate toward each other. We work through our partnerships within and outside of the Met Council, bridging to agencies and organizations with the desire for authentic engagement and dialogue.