Visits to Twin Cities regional parks, trails continue to climb

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The number of people visiting regional parks and trails in the Twin Cities went up again last year.

According to numbers from the Metropolitan Council – whose job it is to promote the growth of the seven-county Twin Cities area – 48.7 million people visited regional parks and trails in 2014. It's the fifth straight year of growth, and a jump of 1.5 million visitors from 2013, the council says. (Click here to see the full report.)

The biggest growth came in Carver County, which had about 1.25 million visits last year. That's a jump of 103 percent from the year prior, and is attributed to the opening of the Southwest Regional Trail (which had about 639,000 of the visits).

Minneapolis Park District had the highest total number of visitors in 2014, with nearly 16.7 million. Three Rivers Park Park District came in second with a little over 9.7 million visits and the City of St. Paul was third with more than 9.4 million.

There are 54 regional parks and reserves in the metro area totaling nearly 55,000 acres, with more than 300 miles of interconnected trail within the system, the Met Council says.

Other figures

– The five most-visited parks were:

  1. Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park – 5,476,400 visits
  2. Como Regional Park, Zoo, and Conservatory Special Recreation Feature – 4,311,000
  3. Mississippi Gorge Regional Park – 2,692,700
  4. Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park – 2,275,800
  5. Minnehaha Regional Park – 1,686,600

– Most visitors go in the summer. About 41 percent went during the summer days – just 9 percent went during the winter.

– Overall, 27 percent of visits were to regional trails, while 73 percent were to regional parks, park reserves, and special recreation features.

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