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DNR fees are going up

By John Enger

MPR News/90.1 FM

Hunting, fishing and riding a four-wheeler will cost a bit more in the environment and natural resources budget bill awaiting a signature from DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

The fee hikes will generate $23 million in funding for the Department of Natural Resources. Some GOP leaders opposed the increases, but they still passed in the final version of the budget.

Earlier in the budget process, DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said the fee hikes are necessary to keep parks open, trails maintained and wildlife management programs effective.

He also said that most people who take advantage of Minnesota’s great outdoors won’t mind paying a little more.

As the bill was on its way to Dayton, Carl Seemann of Bemidji was out looking to trade in an ATV he was unhappy with for a new model. He will have to pay $15 more to register a new ATV.

“I don’t think it’s objectionably high,” he said. “If they can buy these expensive machines, let them pay for the privilege of someone making those trails.”

ATV and snowmobile registrations are part of a long list of tag and license fees that will increase under Minnesota’s new budget.

Resident angling fees will rise by $3 each, deer hunting licenses by $4. State park entrance permits will increase $2 for a daily pass and $10 for an annual pass.

At Lake Bemidji, Jerry Thompson put his boat in the water. He said thinks the DNR doesn’t get nearly enough funding.

“Three dollars is pretty minimal,” he said. “I don’t know why they won’t increase it by at least that much. If they’re going to pass an increase they might as well do a legitimate increase.”