Gov. Mark Dayton is encouraging Minnesotans to get out and enjoy the state’s outstanding outdoor opportunities by proclaiming June 2018 as Great Outdoors Month.
The proclamation cites the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors as one incentive to visit Minnesota state parks and trails.
As an added incentive, the Department of Natural Resources will continue its longstanding tradition of waiving the requirement for a vehicle permit (a $7 value) and providing free admission at all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Saturday, June 9, which is National Get Outdoors Day, an event held annually on the second Saturday in June.
“Exploring Minnesota state parks is a great way to spend time with friends and family, get active, and enjoy our state’s many natural wonders,” Dayton said. “This Saturday, I encourage all Minnesotans to ‘Get Outdoors’ and experience a state park or recreation area near you.”
Many special programs will take place throughout Great Outdoors Month and on National Get Outdoors Day to help make each visit memorable and fun for visitors, said Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “Our goal is to connect new people, especially families with young children, to the outdoors.”
Special programs taking place June 9 at Minnesota state parks include:
Pop Can Casting, 11 a.m.-noon, Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul. Make a fishing pole with a pop can. Bring a clean can with the tab still attached and meet at the fishing pier.
Peregrine Falcons, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Gooseberry Falls State Park, Two Harbors. Drop by the Visitor Center Auditorium to see live falcons and learn about these remarkable birds from Jackie Fallon of the Midwest Peregrine Society.
Outdoor Recreation Day, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Father Hennepin State Park on Lake Mille Lacs near Isle. Displays, demonstrations and activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, fish identification, and a kids fish casting range. There will also be a special appearance by Smokey Bear (11-11:20 a.m.), followed by Archery in the Park (1-3 p.m.) for ages 8 and older.
Family Outdoor Fair, noon- 3 p.m., Whitewater State Park near Winona in southeastern Minnesota. Make a walking stick and visit activity stations, including archery, trout fishing, geocaching, canoeing, bird watching and more.
Minnesota Zoomobile, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Minneopa State Park in Mankato. Live animals, storytelling, and an ice cream social.
Nature Photography, 2-3 p.m., Big Bog State Recreation Area in Waskish. Join a naturalist to learn some basic techniques. A limited number of digital cameras will be provided, or visitors can use other digital equipment (cell phone welcome, too).
For a complete list of statewide programs, with times and locations, visit www.mndnr.gov.
Free loaner equipment—Most parks allow visitors to check out GPS units, binoculars, fishing gear and Kids Discovery Kits (featuring activities, stories and tips to help ensure a child’s park visit will be fun). For more information on where to find the free stuff—not just on National Get Outdoors Day but every day—visit www.mndnr.gov.
For more information, contact the DNR Information Center by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).