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MN Department of Natural Resources -- News Releases
Updated: 7 hours 25 min ago

Fishing made easy – no license, no equipment and no experience required at Minnesota state parks

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 3:08pm

Minnesota state parks have made it easy—and free —to experience the fun of fishing. 

“We’ve eliminated some of the barriers that were keeping today’s busy families from getting out fishing,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “Now, you and your family can try your hand at fishing – at no cost – before investing in equipment or purchasing a fishing license.”

People are able to fish from shore without a license in most state parks on a lake or river that doesn’t require a trout stamp. Other rules and regulations still apply, such as the number and size of fish that the person can keep. Details, including a map showing where to find the free fishing opportunities, can be found online.

Free fishing kits, which include a rod and tackle, are loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis at many state parks, thanks to funding from the DNR’s MinnAqua program.

“These fishing kits make it easy for families,” said Jeff Ledermann, education and skills leader for DNR’s fish and wildlife outreach section. “The many fishing opportunities state parks offer are a great way for families to have fun, learn together and build a tradition that connects them to the outdoors.”

Beginners and those who haven’t fished in awhile can brush up on their fishing skills at one of many I Can Fish! programs this summer. These hands-on learning opportunities ($5 for adults and free for children under age 12) cover fish identification, casting, knot-tying and more.

Fishing gear is provided for use during the programs, and fishing licenses are not required. Experienced anglers will demonstrate skills and then give participants time to practice. Participants will also get a small tackle box to take home with them. For a complete schedule of I Can Fish! programs and information on how to register, visit

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

Modest recreation fee increases go into effect July 1

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 2:26pm

Cost for hunting and fishing licenses won’t increase until 2018

The Department of Natural Resources reminds state park visitors, snowmobilers and ATV riders that modest fee increases will go into effect on July 1. 

However, the cost of fishing and hunting licenses, including deer licenses, won’t increase until 2018.

“I want to thank the many Minnesotans and state lawmakers who supported these modest increases in parks, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, hunting and fishing fees during the recent legislative session,” said Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “These fees will help maintain quality outdoor experiences for now and for future generations. We are fortunate to live in a state that offers such great outdoor opportunities and passionate citizenry that supports those resources.”

One-day state park vehicle permits will increase $2 to $7 and year-round vehicle permits will increase $10 to $35. These fees have not changed in more than a decade, and the increases were needed to continue to provide quality facilities and services at these important places at a level that maintains their nation-leading status.

Also effective July 1, the fee to register all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles will increase and a $15 license will be required for ice shelters that do not collapse, fold or disassemble.

“ATV and snowmobile clubs throughout the state provide a large and well-maintained system of trails throughout Minnesota,” Landwehr said.  “These trails are supported in large part by the user fees that contribute to the state’s grant-in-aid trail systems.  High-quality trails give snowmobilers and other motorized recreation enthusiasts a reason to travel, which bolsters tourism and strengthens local economies in Minnesota.”

For a list of all the Parks and Trails fees that are changing, visit the fee details page.

Effective with the 2018 license year, the cost for some fishing and hunting licenses will rise. The cost of a resident fishing license will increase $3, from $22 to $25, and a resident deer license will increase $4, from $30 to $34. A complete list of license fee increases is available on the DNR website at

These increases won’t build fish and wildlife programs but do ensure that fish stocking will not be reduced; deer management and research will continue at current levels; and nuisance wildlife and wildlife damage complaints will be answered in a timely manner.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

Minnesota state parks and recreation areas offer new benefits for veterans

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 2:23pm

Active military personnel in any branch or unit of the United States Armed Forces and veterans with a service-related disability are now eligible to receive a free year-round vehicle permit, providing unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas. 

These new benefits were proposed by the Department of Natural Resources and approved by state lawmakers during the 2017 Minnesota legislative session (Minnesota Statutes, section 85.053, subdivisions 8 and 10).

“We are grateful to the men and women who have served in the military,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Providing free access to Minnesota state parks is just one way to thank them for their service and sacrifice.”

To see all of the licenses, permits and passes that are available to military personnel and veterans, and the form of identification that an individual needs to show, visit

The DNR is recognized as a Yellow Ribbon Company for its support of active and retired military personnel and their families.

“We invite active military personnel and veterans with a service-related disability to come get their free permit over the Fourth of July weekend,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “Minnesota state parks and recreation areas offer a firework-free environment for those who want to celebrate the holiday in peace and quiet.”

A list of especially quiet getaways is included in the summer guide on the Parks and Trails website.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

DNR releases environmental review of Mississippi River channel widening near Hastings

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 2:22pm

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has released an environmental assessment worksheet for a proposed construction project to widen and manage flow rates for a section of the Mississippi River channel near Hastings that has narrowed with sediment build up. 

Changing sediment patterns have made it difficult and costly to maintain safe navigation through this river channel. The St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to remove sediment and build two new rock sills on the right and left river banks to help control water flow and increase water velocity to help maintain the full channel width.

The DNR environmental assessment worksheet for the proposed project is integrated with a draft federal environmental assessment.

The DNR will accept comments on the EAW for the “Lower Pool 2 Boulanger Bend to Lock and Dam No. 2 Maintenance Project” through 4:30 p.m. July 26.

A copy of the document is available on the DNR website. Additional copies may be requested by calling 651-259-5082.

A copy is also available for public review at:

  • DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.
  • DNR Central Region Headquarters, 1200 Warner Road, St. Paul, MN 55106.
  • Hennepin County – Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, Second Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN  55401-1992.
  • Park Grove Branch, Washington County Library, 7900 Hemingway Ave. South, Cottage Grove, MN 55016.
  • Pleasant Hill Library, 1490 South Frontage Road, Hastings, MN 55033.

The EAW notice is being published in the June 26 Environmental Quality Board Monitor, also known as the EQB Monitor.

Written comments must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, to the attention of Kate Fairman, EAW project manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Electronic or email comments may be sent to or by fax to 651-296-1811 with “Boulanger Bend EAW” in the subject line.  If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address.

Learn mountain-biking basics at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 2:21pm

Anyone looking for summer adventure may want to explore the mountain bike trails at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area during one of the I Can Mountain Bike! programs on Saturday, July 8, and Saturday, Aug. 12. Three I Can Mountain Bike! sessions will take place each day, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., from noon to 2:30 p.m. and from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

During the first half of the program, participants will practice shifting, braking and body position in a wide open setting. During the second half, they’ll take a guided ride and explore the single-track mountain-bike trails.

I Can Mountain Bike!

Use of bikes and helmets will be included with the registration fee ($25/adult and $15/child). A Minnesota state parks vehicle permit ($7/day or $35/year-round) is also required to enter the park.

Children should be at least 10 years old to participate and should be able to comfortably ride a bike on pavement prior to attending this program. Anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Reservations are required and can be made online or by phone.


I Can Mountain Bike! is part of a series of skill-building programs offered by the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. Other programs in the series introduce camping, rock climbing, fishing, paddling and archery to beginners.

The I Can! programs are made possible with support from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, near Brainerd, features 25 miles of single-track mountain bike trails. It also has an 8-mile paved trail.

For more information, including program dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements, visit or contact the DNR Information Center at, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).