Free admission to 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas the day after Thanksgiving

Published 6:35 am Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Department of Natural Resources is waiving entrance fees to all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving.

“I wish everyone in Minnesota a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “And on the day after the holiday, I can’t think of anything better than visiting one of Minnesota’s spectacular state parks, with free admission. No matter where you are in the state, you’re likely within about a half-hour’s drive of a state park or recreation area.”

Near Austin, people can make use of Lake Louise State Park outside of LeRoy and Myre-Big Island State Park outside of Albert Lea.

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LeRoy Mayor Brian Thiel spoke highly of the benefits the town and the area receive by being in close relationship not only to Lake Louise State Park, but the Shooting Star Trail, which enters into the park from the west.

“It draws tourists and any time you have visitors to the community it’s a benefit,” Thiel said. “You get exposure.”

Research shows that spending time outdoors benefits children and adults, including improving mood, enhancing creative thinking and problem solving, promoting a conservation ethic, and improving physical fitness.

On Thanksgiving Day, the average American consumes around 4,500 calories. A brisk walk can burn about 300 calories in one hour.

“If you’ve never been to a state park before, this is a great way to extend your holiday a day further and get outdoors with family or friends to explore the natural beauty of our state parks,” said Erika Rivers, director of DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “We hope anyone who visits on Free Park Friday will return throughout the winter season — and beyond — to hike, snowshoe, watch wildlife or participate in naturalist-led programs.”

A few parks will offer special programs on Free Park Friday. Examples include:

  • Turkey Hike: 10-11 a.m. at Whitewater State Park in southeastern Minnesota.
  • Falls Tour: 10-11 a.m. at Gooseberry Falls State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore.
  • Children’s Storytime: Turkey Trouble: 1-2 p.m. at Lake Bemidji State Park in north central Minnesota.
  • Step Off that Stuffing Hike: 1-2 p.m. at Interstate State Park near the Twin Cities metro area.
  • Falconry: The Sport of Kings: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Tettegouche State Park and again from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Gooseberry Falls State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore.

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