ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota state parks officials said Monday that their efforts to connect people with the outdoors are paying off in permit sales and visits.
Sales of year-round state park permits reached 136,300 last year, up 2 percent from 2012 and 21 percent from 2008, the Department of Natural Resources said. Sales of one-day permits have increased 15 percent over the past five years and overnight stays are up 10 percent since 2008 as measured by “site nights,” the number of times a campsite or cabin is occupied for one night.
“We got off to a slow start last year due to the cold, wet spring, so it was gratifying to finish 2013 ahead of 2012. … This news comes at a time when national parks and many other states are reporting significant declines in their visits and overnight stays,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division.
Nelson attributed the rising use of Minnesota state parks and trails to a general trend of more families “staycationing” to save money, programs and special events to attract visitors at off-peak times and high consumer satisfaction. He also credited outreach funded by the Legacy Amendment, a sales tax increase voters approved in 2008.
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