Minnesotans love the Great Outdoors and have a history of standing up to preserve and protect it.
Over 30 years ago, 77% of Minnesotans voted in favor of using Minnesota State Lottery funds to protect our Great Outdoors. Since then, over $900 million has been invested to help restore and protect our water, land, and habitat.
In November, Minnesota voters will be given the opportunity to renew the lottery dedication to continue funding clean lakes, healthy forests, and outdoor recreation before funding sunsets in 2025.
Lottery Funding for the Great Outdoors
Lottery funding invests in conservation projects all over the state. Over 1,700 lottery projects have been funded to help heal our prairies, lakes, and forests. Projects must be "for the public purpose of protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.”
Without renewal, thousands of future programs and projects throughout the state could be in jeopardy.
For years the environment has been underfunded. Support from the state’s General Fund for conservation has been dwindling from over 2% to below 1% in the last two decades. State agency budgets have not been able to keep up with other needs, putting more pressure on dedicated sources like lottery funding to make up for their shortfalls.
The renewal includes changes in the funding process. Allowing for reform and process improvement would help make way for diverse new voices, projects, and ideas as legislators and the public redesign the future spending of lottery proceeds.
Making Lasting Change
Whether you like hiking along the Great Lakes, fishing up north, or simply enjoying nature in your neighborhood, love for the Great Outdoors is something we all share. Helping preserve what makes Minnesota special is the backbone of the lottery funding—and this constitutionally protected funding will disappear if not renewed by voters before 2025.
Lottery Funding in Action
Watch a Prairie Sportsman (Pioneer PBS) episode Thanks a Billion Minnesota that shows a fascinating array of projects and the enthusiastic researchers behind them.
Here are just a few other examples of how lottery funding is making a difference:
Protecting endangered species: The Voyageurs Wolf Project
Centered around the pristine lakes of Voyageurs National Park this project focuses on researching the great wolves of the north. By studying the habits of these reclusive animals, the Voyageurs Wolf Project is doing cutting edge research with funding from the lottery.
Take a look at the life of a Minnesotan wolf.
Pollinator-friendly: lawn grants
Minnesota is creating more pollinator havens thanks to the Lawns to Legumes program funded by lottery dollars. The program offers workshops, expert education, planting guides, and cost-share funding for installing native plants in residential lawns for awarded participants.
Learn more about the Lawns to Legumes program.
Youth environmental education for all: Wilderness Inquiry
Wilderness Inquiry works with Captain Planet Foundation for the Minnesota Freshwater Quest Program funded by the lottery. Helping 30,000 underserved Minnesota youth (grades 6–12) explore and improve their local waterways through hands-on environmental education.
Learn more about the Minnesota Freshwater Quest program.
Check out our Spring Newsletter to learn more about the impact Lottery Funding has had on Minnesota’s Great Outdoors.