FROM THE DNR: 4th of July weekend in Minnesota, hunter safety classes and more.

5313 - FROM THE DNRDeclare your independence; go fishing
By Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner

This Fourth of July, I encourage you to declare your independence from the taxations of life by launching a patriotic action.

Go fishing!

It’s as American and Minnesotan as apple pie and the state fair.

An army of others have already enlisted. Join them. Do so by fighting the urge to mow the lawn, weed the garden or organize the jetsam and flotsam into garage sale piles. These things can wait. A summer fishing trip can’t.

I say this because too often we surrender to some self-imposed guilt. This concession simply kicks the can of fond memories further down the road. Kick that can too often and you’ll find yourself scratching your head in September wondering where the summer went. That won’t feel good and you’ll regret missing out.

So strike back. Arm yourself with rod, reel and bait and launch your fight on the water by boat or foot. You will prevail. You can’t lose. Even a bad day of fishing is darn good.

Recently, my son and pals and I drove north to the Boundary Waters for a quick fishing trip. Was it work? Yes, a bit. But, we caught fish, and we canoed and we had a wonderful time.  For years to come, this memory will blink on and off in our lives like the twinkling of the fireflies we also enjoyed. It will shine again for us all when we gather in the kitchen, dredge walleye fillets through seasoned crumbs and plop them in a frying pan.

Though we traveled the north, do know that Minnesota offers good fishing in almost every corner.  It’s hard to beat the gorgeous trout streams of the southeast and along the north shore. The lakes of southern and southwestern Minnesota are overlooked gems. In central Minnesota, the walleye bite has been good on Lake Mille Lacs and the other “Big Six.” Many northern lakes were locked in ice when the fishing season began. They have been fished less than normal because of the late ice-out and cold rainy spring. Fish are still there. You should be too.

So get a fishing license and get out. You’ll discover there’s a magic in Minnesota’s waters. More importantly, you’ll discover the freedom that comes from staring at the water rather than your watch. And you should take a moment to enjoy the freedoms we celebrate as part of this Great American Holiday!


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               June 27, 2013

Campsites still available at Minnesota state parks for Fourth of July weekend

Despite statewide storm damage from severe weather last week, Minnesota state parks and recreation areas are open and campsites are still available Fourth of July weekend, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

“Storms knocked out power and trees at a number of our state parks,” said Parks and Trails Division Director Courtland Nelson. “But the lights are back on, debris is being cleaned up and parks are open for business. Our staff is ready for a busy holiday weekend. I encourage you to plan a visit to a state park or trail today.”

Up to a third of the campsites at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas are nonreservable and available to campers on a first-come, first-served basis. In state forests, all campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The following state parks, all within 100 miles of the Twin Cities, had at least 10 reservable campsites remaining for the holiday weekend as of June 24:

  • Carley State Park (near Rochester), a spot to hike and trout fish amid wildflowers and white pines along the Whitewater River.
  • Flandrau State Park (New Ulm), with overlooks along the Big Cottonwood River, hiking and a filtered sand-bottom swimming pool.
  • Minneopa State Park (Mankato), where highlights include waterfalls and panoramic views.
  • Myre-Big Island State Park (Albert Lea), with rental canoes and kayaks available for exploring Albert Lea Lake, a haven for waterfowl, and the 6-mile paved Blazing Star State trail, which connects to Albert Lea.
  • Rice Lake State Park (Owatonna), which has a variety of songbirds to observe while paddling the lake or hiking the park’s 5 miles of trails.
  • St. Croix State Park (Hinckley), the state’s largest state park, with 34,000 acres bordered by the St. Croix and Kettle rivers, a swimming beach, a fire tower, 21 miles of mountain bike trails and a 5.5-mile paved bike trail.
  • Sakatah Lake State Park (near Faribault), a place to boat and bike, with access to the 39-mile paved Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail that runs through the park.

Many campsites are available at state parks further from the metro area including:

  • In the southwest, Big Stone Lake and Camden state parks.
  • In the central region, Charles A. Lindbergh State Park.
  • In the southeast, Forestville/Mystery Cave and Great River Bluffs state parks.
  • In the northwest, Red River SRA, Hayes Lake, Lake Bronson, Maplewood, Old Mill and Zippel Bay state parks.
  • In the northeast, Scenic and Schoolcraft state parks.

Several group camps are available for campers planning family reunions or traveling with friends. These have space for multiple tents and can be reserved for $50-$125 per night.

A vehicle permit ($5/one-day or $25/year-round) is required to enter Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.

Camping or lodging reservations can be made be made up to a year in advance by visiting by calling toll-free 866-857-2757, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.




DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   June 27, 2013

DNR seeks comments on EAW for Gilmore Creek stream restoration

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public comments on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for a compensatory mitigation project for loss of an unnamed stream at Northshore Mining Company’s Babbitt mine. The project will restore a portion of offsite degraded creek, Gilmore Creek, to its original plan and profile; reestablish natural stream processes, improve floodplain connectivity and stabilize hydrology.

A 30-day public review and comment period will begin on July 8, when the notice of the EAW’s availability is published in the EQB Monitor. The DNR invites public comments from July 8 to Aug. 7. Written comments must be submitted to the attention of Jill Townley, environmental review planner, environmental policy and review unit, Ecological and Water Resources Division, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Electronic or email comments may be sent to with “Gilmore Creek EAW” in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811.

A copy of the EAW is available online at Click on “Public Input,” then select “Gilmore Creek EAW” from the scroll-down list under “Environmental Review.” Additional copies may be requested by calling 651-259-5168.

Also, a copy of the EAW will be available for public review at:

  • DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.
  • DNR Northeast Regional Headquarters, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744.
  • Minneapolis Public Library, government documents, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401.
  • Chisholm Public Library, 300 West Lake Street, Chisholm, MN 55719.
  • Cook Public Library, 103 South River Street, Cook, MN 55723.




DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             June 27, 2013

Now is the time to take a hunter safety course

With the fall hunting seasons just around the corner, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges hunters to sign up now for a hunter education class.

“Though classes are held throughout the year, their numbers peak in the summer and early fall,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator. “So now is the time to sign up and complete a course, because once the hunting season gets rolling, it might be too late.”

Besides ensuring the ability to hunt this year, taking the class sooner rather than later means more time for scouting hunting locations, sighting-in rifles, practicing shotgun skills and securing permission to hunt on private lands.

Minnesota hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, must take a DNR hunter education firearms safety training course and receive a certificate of completion before buying a license for big or small game.

Classes are taught by DNR certified volunteers in their local communities. Students, depending on their age, have a few options to become certified. Regardless of which option they choose the course provides them with basic safe firearms handling skills, wildlife identification, outdoor skills and responsibility that accompanies hunting and firearms use.

Classes fill-up fast. To find a class, visit or toll-free888-646-6367.


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