Following a busy summer season during which the number of occupied
9 percent over 2008, business continues to boom at Minnesota state
parks, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
A report released this week shows vehicle permit sales for September
2009 were the highest on record, with sales of annual permits up 36
percent from September 2008 and sales of daily permits up 32 percent.
“The warm weather earlier this fall has definitely been a
contributing factor,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s
Parks and Trails Division, “but other factors have also likely
influenced the increases we’re seeing in our attendance and sales.”
For example, Nelson said, in response to research conducted in 2007 on
what was keeping young families from spending more time outdoors, the
Division has expanded the number of family-oriented interpretive
programs it offers at Minnesota state parks, launched an extremely
popular statewide geocaching program, and built more camper cabins (25
were added in 2008 alone).
The Parks and Trails Division has been using radio and print ads to try
to raise awareness among 25- to 49-year-olds about outdoor recreation
and vacation opportunities at Minnesota state parks and state trails. It
also has a much-improved Web site – with features ranging from fall
color reports updated every Thursday by park staff to a “Minnesota
State Trail Start-up” page with tips for new users – which has helped
visitors with their trip planning this fall.
“We are pleased to see that these efforts appear to be moving us
toward our goal of getting the next generation outdoors,” said Nelson,
who added that what’s happening in Minnesota seems to reflect a new
There is a Minnesota state park or state trail within 30 miles of most
Minnesotans, and they are open seven days a week year-round, including
on holidays. Information on what there is to see and do at the parks and
trails can be found at www.mnstateparks.info.