Surge in visitors to Minnesota state parks isn’t letting up

Published 10:02 am Friday, September 18, 2015

ST. PAUL — Minnesota state parks officials said a surge in visitors isn’t letting up and they expect the trend to continue as fall colors spread across the state.

A post-Labor Day report from the Department of Natural Resources said year-to-date sales of one-day permits are up 16 percent over the same period last year. Sales of year-round permits are up 12 percent. Overnight stays are up 9 percent.

Park officials first reported the surge after the Independence Day holiday weekend. They said the latest results continue a trend of steady increases in recent years.

To appeal to the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts, the DNR has added mountain bike trails, yurts and Wi-Fi at state parks. It also has added kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals and programs that teach beginners outdoor skills.