Celebrating 28 Years of Service: Peggy Lynch, Executive Director, Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor the inspiring career of Ms. Peggy Lynch, a leader in preservation of parks and green space, on the occasion of her retirement as Executive Director from Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County.
The Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County has its origins in a group of citizens who banded together to protect Hidden Falls – Crosby Lake Regional Park in 1984 from developers proposing to build housing within the park. After the housing proposal was defeated, the group continued to meet, and a permanent organization was established in 1985 with a grant from the Saint Paul Foundation. Peggy Lynch co-founded the organization and served as Executive Director for the next 28 years. Today, because of Peggy’s extraordinary persistence and advocacy for the outdoors, the organization has led development and preservation of parks across the east metro region and earned her the title the “Conscience of the Parks.”
Thanks to Peggy Lynch’s vision, the organization achieved foundational work to protect public access to green space. In 1985 the group initiated a study of parks in Saint Paul and Ramsey County during a period of intense developer interest in prime park land. At the time, there were few local park commissions and developers had no obligation to contribute to the park system. Cities such as Saint Paul sold parkland for a dollar per parcel. As a result of a study by the Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County, Park Commissions in Saint Paul and Ramsey County were established. The amendment of the City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County charters for “no net loss” of parkland were approved. These actions built a system to preserve and add parkland for public use.
Additionally, Peggy and Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County have helped develop and support the environment by promoting appreciation for parks and open space through quality parks, trails, and bikeways. Through educational, community, and corporate outreach programs, they have provided access to recreational opportunities to communities who otherwise may not have the opportunity to experience it.
Peggy’s influence brought increased recognition and elevated the importance of preserving the great outdoors for present and future generations to come. Her work along with the Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County are legacies that will live on in the organization’s work advocating for the environment in the Twin Cities.
Mr. Speaker, in honor of Ms. Peggy Lynch, a leader in the environmental community, I am pleased to submit this statement to the Congressional Record in recognition of her retirement as Executive Director of the Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County.