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St. Paul plans farewell party for Friends of the Parks head Peggy Lynch

Lynch is retiring after 28 years with the nonprofit that supports city parks and trails. A Monday farewell is planned at Como Park.

St. Paul officials will wish “Happy Trails” to Peggy Lynch on Monday upon the retirement of the longtime executive director of the Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County.

Mayor Chris Coleman, Council President Kathy Lantry and Parks Director Mike Hahm will headline a tribute event to Lynch Monday evening at Como Park.

Lynch co-founded the group, which became the Friends after developers proposed in 1984 to build housing in the middle of Hidden Falls–Crosby Lake. When the proposal was defeated, the organizers continued to meet, and, with a grant from the St. Paul Foundation, formed as a permanent nonprofit.

Lynch has run it ever since, with the goal of protecting green space in the city and surrounding county, and promoting the development and use of parks and trails.

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The group’s work led to “No Net Loss of Parkland” in the city and county; it’s also worked on the Gateway Trail connections in the city, restored Mississippi River bluffs, added thousands of trees to area parks and many other efforts.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum has entered a tribute to Lynch in the Congressional Record, saying:

“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.”

Monday’s event is at the Como Park West Picnic Shelter, 1199 Midway Parkway (Horton between Hamline and Lexington); it runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with a 6 p.m. ceremony.