Some state trails follow previously existing routes such as railroad grades, while others are planned to follow rivers or simply to connect two or more cities or other destinations. A master plan is needed to identify one or more potential routes - also known as "alignments" - before any portion of a trail can be developed.
Throughout the planning process, Parks and Trails staff work closely with resource experts, local communities and trail users to identify important natural and cultural resources, scenic landscapes, and potential connections to parks, downtown districts, local or regional trails, and other points of interest.
The planning process also results in decisions about the types of uses that are appropriate for the trail and how the trail will be managed. The resulting master plan is a blueprint for the development of the trail - a process that can extend for many years into the future.
If a state trail is to be extended outside of its original corridor or opened to new uses, a trail master plan amendment may be prepared. As with complete park and trail plans, local communities, park and trail users, and other interested citizens have opportunities to comment on these plan amendments during the planning process and during an official public review period.
Master plans are available electronically for these state trails listed below. Other plans are available for review in paper form in the DNR Library at the DNR Central Office in St. Paul.
• Blazing Star State Trail 05/03 (1 MB)
• Brown's Creek State Trail 03/12 (9.5 MB)
• Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail 04/13 (12.6 MB)
• Casey Jones State Trail 09/05 (3.9 MB)
• Cuyuna Lakes State Trail 08/04 (7.2 MB)
• Des Moines River Valley State Trail 04/13 (17 MB)
• Gitchi-Gami State Trail 2002 (17 MB)
• Glacial Lakes State Trail Extension into Downtown Willmar 07/12 (1.5 MB)
• Glacial Lakes State Trail Extension to Sibley State Park 04/09 (3.2 MB)
• Glacial Lakes State Trail Amendment—Trail Surfacing 06/06 (1.1 MB)
• Goodhue Pioneer State Trail 01/02 (7.8 MB)
• Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail Master Plan 04/95 (6.7 MB)
• Heartland State Trail—Park Rapids to Itasca State Park 04/14 (5 MB)
• Heartland State Trail—Park Rapids to Moorhead 06/11 (6 MB)
• Heartland State Trail 10/79 (6.7 MB)
• Matthew Lourey State Trail Master Plan Amendment 05/12 (7.2 MB)
• Mill Towns State Trail 05/05 (8.1 MB)
• Minnesota River State Trail Master Plan, Big Stone Lake to Franklin 02/08, pages 1 - 68 (10.8 MB)
• Minnesota River State Trail Master Plan, Big Stone Lake to Franklin 02/08, pages 69 -139 (3.4 MB)
• Minnesota River State Trail Master Plan, Franklin to Le Sueur 10/15 (12 MB)
• Mississippi Blufflands State Trail Master Plan 9/16 (5.4 MB)
• North Shore State Trail 08/81 (5 MB)
• Preston to Forestville State Trail 08/03 (3.4 MB)
• Root River State Trail Extension, Houston to La Crescent 12/11 (6.1 MB)
• Root River State Trail, Houston Extension 09/98 (2.1 MB)
• Root River State Trail 11/83 (11.4 MB)
• Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail Master Plan 01/81 (4.9 MB)
• Shooting Star State Trail Master Plan 08/02 (4.7 MB)
• Stagecoach State Trail Master Plan 03/12 (9.5 MB)
• Taconite State Trail Master Plan 07/17 (17 MB)
• Whitewater Country Loop State Trail 02/08 (4.9 MB)
• Willard Munger State Trail—Minnesota Wisconsin Boundary Trail 04/82 (10.3 MB)
• Willard Munger State Trail—Minnesota Wisconsin Boundary Trail Maps 04/82 (10.1 MB)