State officials today invited Minnesotans to take part in a 125-mile challenge, a state park “Total Takeover,” picnics, summer “samplers” and other special events throughout the coming year as part of the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails.
On hand at Fort Snelling State Park to kick off the year-long celebration were Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr, DNR Parks and Trails Division Director Erika Rivers and 30 fourth-grade students from Northrop Urban Environmental Learning Center, representing the next generation of park and trail visitors.
“Minnesota is blessed with a remarkable system of state parks and trails, which have allowed generations of Minnesotans to enjoy our state’s many natural wonders over the past 125 years,” said Smith. “As we celebrate this anniversary, I encourage all Minnesotans to get out and enjoy their state parks and trails this year.”
In the 125 years since Itasca State Park was established in 1891, the system has grown to include 75 state parks and recreation areas, 49 state forest campgrounds, 34 state water trails, more than 360 fishing piers, more than 1,500 public water accesses, more than 600 miles of paved state trails, and many additional miles of off-highway vehicle, snowmobile, equestrian and cross-country ski trails.
“There’s a state park, trail or water trail within 30 minutes of just about every Minnesotan,” Landwehr said. “We hope the anniversary events that we have planned in 2016 will encourage new people to discover these special places.”
The anniversary celebrations will include:
“In addition to planning special events, we are also updating our signs, maps and publications so that they meet the Governor’s ‘plain language’ goals and appeal to a new and more diverse generation of park visitors,” Rivers said.
For example, she unveiled a shorter and more customer friendly rules sign that will appear in all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas this spring. She also showed prototypes of state park maps and other publications that have been redesigned to be more useful to today’s visitors.
For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.