DNR adjusting to Coronavirus

Published 7:01 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in accordance with guidance from state health officials, is postponing, adjusting, and canceling a variety of public events, including open houses, safety education training, naturalist programs and other meetings.

The DNR is exploring a range of digital options to support public meetings and other critical engagement opportunities. Minnesotans should check the DNR’s website, DNR social media channels, the DNR’s Information Center, and email updates from the agency.

State parks, recreation areas, campgrounds, and other public lands remain open to the public for people to enjoy.

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“Now is a great time to get outdoors,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “Parks are a great place to do some social distancing and enjoy the health benefits of nature.”

However, to ensure the DNR meets state health guidance, visitors will experience some changes in services available. State park visitor centers, contact stations, and other ancillary buildings will be closed until further notice. With contact stations closed, visitors will pay through self-pay and informational kiosks located at each facility. Visitors are also encouraged to purchase daily and annual park passes through the online portal before they visit.

For the time being, state parks naturalist programs are canceled. The DNR is working to determine which of these programs are compatible with social distancing and will resume naturalist programming to the extent possible.

State park bathrooms, vault toilets and shower buildings that are currently open will remain open, with increased cleaning protocols.

The DNR also is encouraging the public to use social distancing options for doing business with the agency, such as buying or renewing licenses online, calling rather than stopping by your local DNR office, using online or telephone reservation systems,and using email or phone to request information from the DNR’s Information Center.

The DNR has adopted Minnesota Department of Health social distancing guidelines, such as maintaining 6-10 foot distances, at front-counter operations with the public.

Here are events that are postponed at this time:

• All safety education training, including firearms safety training.

• Deer open houses.

• Elk input meetings in northwest Minnesota.

Because this is an evolving situation, please check with your meeting contact or the DNR website for additions and modifications to this list.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367) or email the center at info.dnr@state.mn.us. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.