Visit Any Minnesota State Park For Free This Saturday

10 June 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As a way to kick off summer, tomorrow you can visit all 75 Minnesota State Parks for free.

The Department of Natural Resources began doing this years ago, and it’s become even more popular over the past, couple years.

“It’s out in the environment. It’s out in the woods. It’s taking in all of the energy of this beautiful earth,” said visitor Caren Olson.

Fort Snelling State Park gets about a million visitors a year, making it one of the busiest state parks in the state. There are 13 miles of trails, near where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers meet.

“Just nature. Can’t believe how much we have right outside our back door,” said visitor Phil Olson.

“There are no buildings anywhere. Nature is close to people. So that’s the most important,” said visitor Peter Onesirosan.

People can hike, bike, fish, and explore — and on Saturday, they can do it all for free.

“I think during the pandemic people rediscovered a love for the outdoors and that’s continued, and the enthusiasm has continued to grow,” said Laurel Quill, with Fort Snelling State Park.

Quill is a park ranger who said attendance increases every year. During Saturday’s free day, visitors won’t have to pay for a day permit and they’ll be greeted by pop up nature programs at the parks.

“Find somewhere nearby. Find a new favorite or an old favorite but if you’ve been thinking about getting that permit tomorrow is a great way to celebrate the beginning of summer and to try that out,” said Quill.

The only downfall, at least at Fort Snelling, is that spring flooding has given way to pesky mosquitoes — so don’t forget your bug spray.

“This is a great time to do your first visit. So anyone who has been thinking about getting an annual permit, this is a great time to test that out,” said Quill.

This is also “Take a Kid Fishing Weekend,” when Minnesotans 16 and older don’t need a fishing license if they take a kid fishing. June is also “Great Outdoors Month” in Minnesota.

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