hikers

The Minnesota Valley Trust expands and improves opportunities for the public to connect with wildlife and nature on the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

The Minnesota Valley Trust, Inc. was created in 2000 through a settlement with the Metropolitan Airports Commission to "mitigate the impact on the Refuge of the north-south runway at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport". It is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation.

The first 12 years of the Minnesota Valley Trust were dedicated to completing the “Refuge Mitigation Plan". Under that plan, we acquired more than 4,090 acres to expand the Refuge, built an Education and Visitor Center on the Refuge’s Rapids Lake Unit, and created other public use opportunities on the Refuge.

The Mitigation Plan was completed in 2013. With funds remaining, thanks to prudent investing, fundraising and spending, a new strategic plan was developed by the Trust’s Board of Directors, working in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The current goals of the Trust are to:

  • Acquire and restore another 3,000 acres to expand the Refuge
  • Support the Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center 
  • Support the maintenance and improvement of lands and facilities of the Refuge
  • Facilitate school visits to the Refuge and other education, outreach and engagement activities with urban audiences.

To expand the Refuge, the Trust works with willing landowners within search boundaries designated by the USFWS. For more information, visit our Land Acquisition page.

To learn how to access and explore the Refuge, check out our Visitor Access page, then click through to other resources.

Please also visit our Partners page to learn more about the many organizations we work with and the grant funds we receive from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

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