County to apply for state Legacy trail grantsPublished 11:00am Thursday, February 16, 2012
Otter Tail County, thanks to state funding available from the Legacy Amendment passed by voters in 2008, will develop a trails plan and seek a portion of $7.6 million that’s available for 2013.
“Our county already is part of the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail. We need to be at the table in order to obtain some of the Legacy Amendment money,” said County Commissioner Wayne Johnson during Tuesday’s weekly board meeting.
Johnson represents the Pelican Rapids area, which became part of the birding trail system in 2002. Former Pelican Rapids Mayor Wayne Runningen is a member of the community’s Birding Trail Advisory Committee. Commissioners plan to tap into Runningen’s expertise when they apply for Legacy Amendment trails funding.
“Nature is here in Otter Tail County and, through enhancement of trails, county residents and visitors will have greater accessibility,” said Doug Huebsch, who represents the Perham area. “Trails development will help the tourism industry in our area.”
Taking a lead role in future grant applications will be County Engineer Rick West, who spoke to commissioners about this subject on Tuesday.
Eligible projects include acquisition, development, restoration and maintenance of trail facilities that are considered of regional or statewide significance. All projects, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), must meet requirements for perpetual outdoor recreational use.
Trail acquisition projects require a perpetual easement for recreational purposes, said West. Trail development projects require a 20-year maintenance commitment by the project sponsor (in this case Otter Tail County).
Grants are reimbursed based up to 75 percent of the total eligible project costs. Recipients such as Otter Tail County would provide a funding match of at least 25 percent. The minimum grant request is $20,000. Higher dollar amounts (grants) can be requested for larger trails projects.