hikers stand and rest while physical distancing
October 1, 2020

Friends Group Update from the DNR

A note from Ashley Pethan (Friends Group Coordinator, P&TC)

You may remember that Arielle Courtney, the DNR’s central point person for friends groups, went on parenthood leave starting in March. She and her husband welcomed a baby girl to the family and have been adjusting within the times of COVID. Arielle has decided to extend her parenthood leave until March of 2021. We will miss her! And, we wish her well and hope she and the family get to enjoy some time outside throughout the changing seasons.

In Arielle’s absence, I have been connecting with Jamie McBride, who is a State Park and Recreation Area Program Consultant with the DNR. We had been collaborating on the in-person workshop planning, and while those have been cancelled, Jamie remains a resource to P&TC  with some friends group activities. See below for a brief update from Jamie.

An update from Jamie McBride (State Park and Recreation Area Program Consultant, DNR)

Hello Parks and Trails friends group members!

As Covid-19 continues to impact almost everything we do, we’d like to say a brief note of thanks for your ongoing commitment to and support of Minnesota state parks and trails. Through all of this we’ve experienced record visitation and know that many new visitors are discovering, or rediscovering, the health and wellness benefits associated with outdoor recreation. This is a good sign, and we’re moving forward with methods to improve the visitor experience.

Friends groups are vital in helping us achieve our mission of offering unforgettable outdoor recreation experiences, and we look forward to a day when we can return to normal operations. Through the pandemic, we aim to assure the safety of all staff and volunteers. What that means for friends groups will vary by location. Our overall volunteer opportunities will remain limited until a time when asking for the help you provide can be done in a safe manner in accordance with Governor Walz’s executive orders. We know from visitor comments and regular communications with P&TC that visitors and friends group members understand that safety is of utmost priority.

Thank you for all of your contributions, and we’ll see you in the parks sometime soon.

About Ashley Pethan