Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

People saving special places

St. Paul, MN   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

EIN: 41-1450303


Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota acquires, protects and enhances critical land for the public's use and benefit.

Ruling year info



Brett Feldman

Main address

275 4th St E Suite 250

St. Paul, MN 55101 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info



Population served info

Children and youth


NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

With the growing urgency in protecting land for the preservation of species as well as for the growing population in Minnesota, we address this need by acquiring land with outstanding natural and cultural resources for parks and trails. We also work to keep these places protected by advocating at the state capitol and building the capacity of volunteer-based friends groups who help care for them.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Land Acquisition

Our land protection work saves special places for parks and trails that are most vulnerable to being lost to incompatible development. We acquire the land and protect it for eventual use for a park or trail. Since 1954 we have helped to acquire 11,000 acres of land for Minnesota's state and regional parks and trails.

Population(s) Served

Our ability to effectively communicate the needs of Minnesota's park and trail system to legislators and government officials has made Parks & Trails Council the preeminent voice for parks and trails throughout Minnesota and at the state capitol.

Population(s) Served

We work to enhance the efforts of volunteer groups working on behalf of specific parks and trails.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Goal # 1 – Acquire and Protect Land
Provide all Minnesotans with outstanding recreational opportunities by acquiring lands for state and regional parks and trails including land that contains important geological, historical, scientific, and scenic characteristics of state and regional significance.

Goal #2 – Advocate
Advance policies that cultivate a world-class system of interconnected parks, trails, waterways, natural areas, and open spaces.

Goal # 3 – Engage and empower
Build a larger, more inclusive, diverse, and active base to help advance our mission and vision.

Goal # 4 – Research
Conduct and disseminate research findings on key park and trail issues.

Goal #5 – Endure
Strengthen organizational capacity and capital resources to align with our mission, vision, and values.

1) Proactively pursue land acquisition consistent with our vision statement.
2) Collaborate and coordinate with partners (e.g. MnDNR, regional providers, friends groups) and peer non-profit groups.
3) Actively seek public and private funds to support increased land acquisition activities.
4) Maintain organizational capacity and policies to ensure the ability to respond quickly to high-priority opportunities.
5) Use a clearly defined land evaluation and purchase decision-making process to arrive upon transparent decisions considering risk factors including financial exposure.

1) Continue strong relations with Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission, Metropolitan Council, and the MnDNR.
2) Build relationships and cultivate support for our policy goals from culturally diverse and influential entities, and individuals from other sectors including, but not limited to, tourism, healthcare, transportation, conservation, outdoor recreation, and economic development.
3) Foster strategic two-way communication with stakeholders and partners to elevate awareness of Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota as a unifying and inspiring voice for parks and trails.
4) Engage an increasing number of members and supporters that are active in advancing our policy goals.
5) Identify and nurture opportunities, relationships, and actions to advance our policy goals using the best available research, data, and best practices.

1) Develop and implement relevant engagement opportunities that grow and diversify our supporters while maintaining our existing membership base.
2) Develop mutually beneficial partnerships with friends group partners, including developing their organizational capacity.
3) Empower friends groups and other supporters to engage with parks and trails by strategically partnering with management agencies.

1) Establish a diverse committee of respected experts and researchers to serve as a review board for our research agenda and reports to ensure that research is high-quality and has integrity and credibility.
2) Continue to conduct research on trail use and trail conditions.
3) Expand the reach of our research program as an independent, nonpartisan source that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping Minnesota’s parks, trails, waterways, natural areas, and open spaces.
4) Strengthen relationships with entities such as universities, the MnDNR, local units of government, and MnDOT in order to collaborate on key research initiatives, and learn from each other.
5) When possible, generate revenue from research activities.

The Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota works in a complex and ever-changing environment where our commitment to land conservation and outdoor recreation often collides with funding shortages and political forces opposed to public land. Moving forward, the organization will adeptly navigate these challenges to build on our strong legacy of sustaining, stewarding, and conserving outdoor spaces in Minnesota.

To date, P&TC has effectively cultivated a solid base of membership support and strong partnerships with state and local leaders, while being influential at the state Capitol. With the passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008 the funding and policy decision landscape changed significantly. The growth of public resources to support parks and trails of regional and statewide significance has increased opportunities for a robust, interconnected system. Yet, at the same time it has also increased competition for these resources and given rise to a false dichotomy that pits investments in new park and trail opportunities against investments in current parks and trails. As an independent organization with a statewide perspective, P&TC is positioned as an important link among a variety of partners and stakeholders.

In the coming years, P&TC has the unique opportunity to be even more visible and influential. The organization is already recognized for its expertise and accomplishment in land acquisition, as well as for being the public voice for state parks and trails. One component of the strategic planning process was an extensive environmental scan with key stakeholders who identified ample opportunities for partnerships to advance the vision of an interconnected system of natural areas. The strategic direction set forth below builds on these opportunities while ensuring P&TC invests in its organizational assets to achieve its mission of acquiring, protecting and enhancing critical land for the public's use and benefit.

Building on a long legacy of success in acquiring land for Minnesota's parks and trails, we continue to add critical land each year. In 2021 we purchased land for William O'Brien State Park and Goodhue Pioneer State Trail. Since its founding, Parks & Trails Council has helped to add over 9,000 acres to parks and trails in Minnesota.

Each year, Parks & Trails Council makes its voice heard at the state capital in defense of Minnesota's parks and trails. In 2021 we successfully advocated for state parks and trails to receive necessary funding without having to resort to onerous fees that inequitably affect people experiencing lower incomes. This issue gets at the heart of who we are as an organization—a staunch advocate for parks and trails as a common good; as essential to a healthy and prosperous Minnesota.

We also continue our steadfast defense of state parks from the detrimental effects of off-highway vehicles (OHVs). State Parks are precious places where the natural environment is managed to allow wildlife and plants to thrive. As lobbyists for OHVs press to remove restrictions from state parks, we offer a steadfast defense in ensuring they remain in place.

We actively engage the broad community of friends group volunteers in being caretakers for Minnesota's parks and trails. In 2021 we had 55 friends group partners who regularly work with us to undertake initiatives such as habitat restoration and the construction of nature play areas for youth to gain an appreciation for these special places.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To understand our members values and priorities as they pertain to our work.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 21.62 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 78.3 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 16% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$67,663 $352,284 $413,437 $641,931 -$603,623
As % of expenses -10.4% 50.9% 59.9% 88.7% -78.4%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$72,954 $345,221 $407,692 $638,403 -$606,253
As % of expenses -11.1% 49.4% 58.6% 87.8% -78.5%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $743,058 $624,554 $737,303 $929,913 $769,568
Total revenue, % change over prior year -19.0% -15.9% 18.1% 26.1% -17.2%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 10.5% 12.5% 13.2% 9.9% 11.7%
Investment income 15.0% 19.2% 8.8% 5.7% 13.2%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.7% 0.9%
All other grants and contributions 56.3% 54.5% 71.2% 79.6% 68.8%
Other revenue 18.2% 13.7% 6.8% 3.0% 5.5%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $649,753 $692,265 $690,050 $723,744 $769,706
Total expenses, % change over prior year 6.9% 6.5% -0.3% 4.9% 6.4%
Personnel 55.1% 56.0% 58.0% 57.5% 58.7%
Professional fees 16.9% 16.1% 20.2% 18.9% 19.0%
Occupancy 6.8% 6.6% 6.7% 6.0% 5.2%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 3.8% 4.7% 0.1% 2.1% 1.7%
All other expenses 17.3% 16.5% 15.0% 15.4% 15.3%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $655,044 $699,328 $695,795 $727,272 $772,336
One month of savings $54,146 $57,689 $57,504 $60,312 $64,142
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $560,065 $0 $0 $1,310,480 $1,529,320
Total full costs (estimated) $1,269,255 $757,017 $753,299 $2,098,064 $2,365,798

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 58.4 70.3 83.8 70.7 41.2
Months of cash and investments 98.9 114.7 133.1 123.4 82.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 95.6 110.4 130.5 113.4 73.3
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $3,163,241 $4,057,559 $4,820,579 $4,262,624 $2,645,374
Investments $2,191,357 $2,558,780 $2,835,297 $3,179,600 $2,664,288
Receivables $41,694 $1,637 $36,759 $978 $37,968
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $2,326,305 $1,478,756 $748,773 $2,059,253 $3,588,573
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 1.9% 3.0% 6.1% 2.4% 1.4%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 2.4% 2.4% 1.9% 6.5% 7.0%
Unrestricted net assets $7,456,376 $7,801,597 $8,209,289 $8,847,692 $8,241,439
Temporarily restricted net assets $135,304 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $135,304 $75,000 $35,000 $0 $35,000
Total net assets $7,591,680 $7,876,597 $8,244,289 $8,847,692 $8,276,439

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Brett Feldman

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Board of directors
as of 11/09/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Kathy Bonnifield

Peter Seed

Parks & Trails Council of MN

David Minge

Parks & Trails Council of MN

Dick Brainerd

Parks & Trails Council of MN

Tharangi Cumaranatunge


Colleen Tollefson

Retired - Explore Minnesota

Kathy Bonnifield

Piper Fund

John Provo

Provenance Law PLLC

Wayne Sames

Retired - MN Dept. of Natural Resources

Marv Trandem

Retired - Faribault Veterminary Clinic

Cyri Van Hecke

Faegre, Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP

Chia Lee Xiong

Three Rivers Park District

Kirk Rodysill

Retired - Mayo Clinic

Peter Royer

Little Crow Telemedia Network

Kimberley Washington

The Neighborhood Hub

Rick Nelson

Retired - University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management

Steve Cook

City of Hutchinson and 3M

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No