No OHVs in State Parks

Lawmakers are considering whether or not we should open up Minnesota State Parks to off-highway motor vehicles also known as OHVs.

Not only are we opposed to this idea, we think it is prohibited by law. The only way OHVs can be in state parks is through specific legislation or through amendments to existing outdoor recreation rules. And we are seeing efforts to do just this.

What are OHVs?

OHV stands for Off-Highway Vehicle and is the umbrella term for a variety of vehicles designed for driving off road. OHVs come in all shapes and sizes with anywhere from 2 to 8 wheels, or even tracks. It includes vehicles known as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), dirt bikes (also known as off-highway motorcycles), trucks such as Jeeps.

Take Action

Gov. Mark Dayton & Lt. Gov. Tina Smith

The governor has the final say on this issue and needs to know how you feel.

  • Email
  • Telephone: 651-201-3400 or 800-657-3717

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr

The DNR Commissioner is the administrative and executive head of the department. The commissioner has authority over public lands and waters, state parks and forests, timber, mineral resources, recreational trails, and wildlife of the state, and their use, sale, leasing, or other disposition. The powers and duties of the commissioner are detailed in Minnesota Statutes 84.027.

  • Email
  • Telephone: 651-259-5555

Your Legislators

As this issue moves through the legislative process, your legislators may be voting on bills this session that could open the door to OHVs in state parks. Let them know you oppose this and why.

Here are a few ways to stay connected and help protect state parks:

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⇒ Come to our Day on the Hill event


⇒ Become a member

Key Points

The Law

The Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Act of 1975 is clear that state parks are not meant to accommodate every kind of recreational use and in fact the only permissible uses are those that do not cause material disturbance to the natural features of parks.
(M.S. 86A Subd. 2.c)

The State Park Users

Most State Park visitors (72%) say that enjoying the smells and sounds of nature is very important to their visit and most (60%) oppose OHVs in state parks. Meanwhile only 12 percent of visitors support the idea of allowing OHVs in state parks.

Disproportionate Use of Land

There is currently 1,800% more state-owned land available for OHV users (in the form of 4,000,000 acres of State Forests) than for state park visitors (214,252 acres). That statistic alone is staggering, but paired with the fact that only five percent of Minnesotans even own an OHV, while 30 percent of Minnesotans visit state parks, it’s undeniable that there is a disproportionate use of land.