FROM THE DNR: National Get Outdoors Day, Aquatic Invasive Species decontamination training


Getting people in the outdoors gets easier all time.  Free parks admission is coming as part of National Get Outdoors Day, Saturday June 8th.   Also, the arsenal battling aquatic nuisance species continues to grow, with training and education becoming more and more important.  The DNR is offering more opportunities to be a part of the war.   Details below:

Minnesota state parks offer free admission on 
Saturday, June 8, in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day
New, Legacy-funded virtual tours will help families pick a park or trail to visit

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is celebrating National Get Outdoors Day by offering free admission at all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Saturday, June 8. Many special programs will also take place at parks that day.

Families uncertain about which Minnesota state park or trail to visit will find a new trip-planning tool online: virtual tours. They feature 360-degree panoramic photos of 74 parks. The interactive photos allow viewers to pan right, left, up and down to see exactly what they would see if they were standing at that very spot in the park.

“The DNR conducted surveys and focus groups in 2007 to find out why people weren’t getting outdoors more often,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “One of the barriers the research identified was a lack of information. People specifically asked for more online trip-planning tools, such as virtual tours.”

The Parks and Trails Division used Legacy funds to create the virtual tours, which can be found online ( Additional virtual tours – to include five Minnesota state trails, five state water trails and the Minnesota River Valley region – will be online by the end of the month.

“The virtual tours will help us connect more people to the outdoors,” Nelson said. “As soon as they see the beautiful panoramic photos of Minnesota state parks and trails, they will want to visit in person.”

Free programs, also aimed at motivating people to visit Minnesota state parks and trails
on June 8, include:

  • A hands-on “Make Your Own Walking Stick” activity, 1 p.m., Whitewater State Park (Altura).
  • An “Amazing Get Outdoors Day Race” that involves solving puzzles to uncover clues to guide people through the course, 1-3 p.m., Itasca State Park (Park Rapids).
  • “Canoeing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Canoeing,” 8-10 a.m., Lake Vermilion State Park (Soudan).
  • “Make-and-Take Mini Binoculars,” 10-11 a.m., Interstate State Park (Taylors Falls).
  • Fly-fishing workshops with representatives from the Fly Fishing Federation, Trout Unlimited, the St. Paul Fly Tiers and the National Park Service, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., William O’Brien State Park (Marine on St. Croix).
  • An eight-mile “Two-wheel Tour,” 10 a.m.-noon, on the Gateway State Trail (North St. Paul).
  • Archery in the Park, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Lac qui Parle State Park (Montevideo), 12:30-3:30 p.m. at Soudan Underground Mine State Park (Soudan), and 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at Jay Cooke State Park (Carlton).

Details about these and many other free programs can be found in the online calendar at

The goal of National Get Outdoors Day is to introduce first-time visitors to state parks, state trails, fishing piers and other public lands. In particular, it aims to reconnect youth – whose participation in outdoor recreation has been declining – to the great outdoors.

DNR encourages lake service providers to register 
for aquatic invasive species decontamination training 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering free training sessions this summer for lake service providers interested in hot-water/high-pressure decontamination methods to remove aquatic invasive species (AIS) from watercraft.

Attendees will learn proper decontamination methods and receive hands-on practice using DNR decontamination units that deliver 140 degree water at 2,500 pounds per square inch.

“These special training sessions give lake service providers the skills to be able to offer AIS decontamination services to their customers,” said April Rust, DNR invasive species training coordinator. “Businesses that complete the training will be included on the DNR’s new online list of businesses trained in using hot-water/high-pressure decontamination equipment.”

Starting July 1, businesses interested in offering AIS decontamination services must have a DNR service provider permit. To acquire a permit, businesses must attend AIS training, pass the test and pay a $50 permit and testing fee.

AIS training sessions for lake service providers will be offered in the morning prior to the decontamination trainings listed below:

  • June 13, 1-4:30 p.m., Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Operation Center, Ottertail, Minn. (Registration deadline:Friday, June 7).
  • June 19, 1-4:30 p.m., DNR Brainerd area office, Brainerd, Minn. (Registration deadline: Wednesday, June 12).
  • Aug. 1, 1-4:30 p.m., DNR Central Region headquarters (Warner Rd) St. Paul, Minn. (Registration deadline:Thursday, July 18).

Due to the hands-on nature and equipment logistics required for this type of class, the trainings have limited space and pre-registration is required. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis using the form at The training sessions will be cancelled if minimum class size is not reached.

Visit the DNR website at for more information. To register, or for more information, contact April Rust at or 651-259-5706.

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