Planning

Working together to build a great parks system

Two teams with sled dogs.Our partnership with the 10 regional park agencies is critical to the success of the regional parks system. Like the planners at the park agencies, we care deeply about connecting people to the outdoors, protecting natural resources, and making sure everyone in the region has access and feels welcomed to our regional parks and trails.

We use the 2040 Regional Parks Policy Plan as a critical reference document and for guidance on many tasks and projects. The plan puts forward policies to ensure the fulfillment of outdoor recreation benefits for all residents of the seven-county metro region, now and into the future.

Our regional parks staff review regional park implementing agency master plans, local comprehensive plans, and environmental review documents. We also work with park agencies, Met Council committees, and other stakeholders to update the 2040 Regional Parks Policy Plan and other important tasks via projects.

Ongoing projects

System additions: State law directs the Met Council to take the lead role in providing for a regional parks system that will complement the recreational open space opportunities provided in the area by the federal, state, and local units of government. The law directs the Council to determine which parks and trails in the seven-county area are included in the regional system and to generally identify areas that should be acquired for the system. The Met Council is charged with determining whether these lands are regionally important and would collectively provide a balanced system of outdoor recreation for the region.

The 2040 Regional Parks Policy Plan commits the Met Council to convene a regionwide discussion, which began in October 2019, about system additions. In August 2020, a draft policy plan amendment — including a recommendation on system additions — will be released for public comment. Read more about the draft plan amendment.

Completed projects

Equity analysis requirement: The 2040 Regional Parks Policy Plan committed the Met Council to convene a collaborative process to define tools and approaches for a master plan equity analysis. This analysis is an examination of who is likely to benefit and who is affected by the development proposed in regional park or trail master plans considering race, ethnicity, national origin, income, ability, age, and other pertinent characteristics.

The Met Council adopted the equity analysis requirement in February 2020 and it became interim policy effective June 1, 2020. The requirement will be included in the draft policy plan amendment. Read more about the draft plan amendment.