Note: This is an appointed position that serves at the pleasure of the Commissioner. This position is currently a telework position which is subject to change.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking an experienced executive to lead its Division of Parks and Trails. The Minnesota DNR is a national leader in innovative, science-based management as it pursues its three-part mission of conservation, recreation, and sustainable economic use of state resources on behalf of all Minnesotans.
The Director of the Parks and Trails Division serves as part of the Commissioner’s Senior Management Team, advancing DNR’s mission and strategic priorities. These priorities include connecting people to the outdoors; expanding diversity, equity and inclusion; enhancing public engagement; mitigating and adapting to climate change; and embedding consideration of ecosystem benefits in our work and decisions.
The vision of the Parks and Trails Division is to create unforgettable park, trail and water recreation experiences that inspire people to pass along the love for the outdoors to current and future generations. To accomplish this vision and DNR’s strategic priorities, the Division has developed strategies to connect people and the outdoors, acquire and manage land and facilities to enhance resource protection and create recreational opportunities, coordinate with partners, and invest in operational excellence and continuous improvement.
The Division is responsible for the management of 66 state parks, 9 state recreation areas, 9 state waysides, 43 state forest campgrounds, 12 state forest horse campgrounds, 29 forest day use areas, 25 state trails, 35 state water trails and over 3,000 public water access sites. This includes natural and cultural resource management, protection and restoration of these lands and facilities. The Division also administers grants-in-aid to local units of government who partner with local volunteer clubs to maintain 22,000 miles of snowmobile trails, 2,700 miles of off-highway vehicle trails, and 1,100 miles of cross-country ski trails. The Division has a workforce of over 900 employees and a biennial budget of approximately $278.7 million (including pass-through funds).
The role of the Director, in conjunction with the DNR Commissioner’s Office, is to:
Develop and implement goals, policies and programs to effectively manage park and trail resources for the people of Minnesota.
Serve as the executive leader for the Division in supporting efficient and effective budgeting and accounting functions; human resources hiring and development processes; facility and capital equipment support; land asset management; and cross-discipline coordination.
Lead implementation of the Minnesota State Parks and Trails System Plan, as well as DNR’s efforts to support and implement Minnesota’s 25-Year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan.
Promote the advancement of DNR’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in the internal management of the Division as well as in the Division’s external facing work.
Serve as a member of the DNR’s Senior Management Team to provide collaborative and coordinated leadership of DNR activities.
Develop and implement a Division structure that executes at a high level, working within broader department goals, and as part of a collaborative One DNR approach with other DNR divisions.
Lead the legislative processes affecting the Division, including developing and presenting proposals for statutory changes and funding requirements, testifying on other aspects of the Division’s work, and working with individual legislators.
Incorporate proactive and strategic communications that connect DNR’s work to existing and new audiences using appropriate media platforms and approaches. Support efforts to expand DNR communications to reach wider audiences.
Serve as the DNR liaison with other states, the federal government, and Minnesota Tribal Governments on management of parks and trails resources in coordination with DNR’s Tribal Liaison.
Represent the DNR on parks and trails issues to external stakeholders, including conservation organizations, parks and trails-related nonprofits and user groups, local and regional government, and businesses.
Qualified candidates will have successfully led in a large, complex organization; set and implemented a vision and strategic direction; and served as a member of an executive level team. Additional requirements include a proven track record in relationship management, negotiation, consensus-building and collaboration across diverse interest groups; understanding of and ability to work effectively within legislative and executive branch processes, particularly at the state level; and excellent communication skills, including experience in public speaking. Qualified candidates must have knowledge and skills in the management of parks and trails issues, sufficient to inform and evaluate programs and policies promulgated by the Division.