By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Major improvements are coming to parks across Minnesota. From water trails to campsites, the DNR is upgrading a list of state parks.

The changes are happening in parks all over the state. But another change may come soon, too.

Steve Schreader, a manager at Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis, said he was excited to hear about the state park improvements.

“People who have been to a number of state parks over and over again are kind of looking for new places to see,” he said.

Some of the new changes to state parks announced Thursday are: new water trails are coming in Freeborn County, bison at Minneopa State Park, and two new camp grounds coming to Lake Vermillion.

Moreover, there will be syrup making in Maplewood State Park and snowmobiling and ATV trails at Blue Ox Trail.

But before you get all suited up in adventure gear, these changes will likely come at a cost.

Erika Rivers, the director of Minnesota State Parks and Trails, says that the DNR is seeking a park fee increase.

“The user fees for recreation haven’t been raised in more than 10 years, so it’s time we’ve seen some inflation-related increases,” she said. “It’s time to ask for a modest little increase to help support that great system.”

DNR officials say if you support the measure, they encourage you to contact your state lawmakers.

The DNR is asking lawmakers to pass the increase. Here’s a look at some of the proposed changes:

— State park vehicle permit increases of $1/daily and $5/annually
— Registration fee increases for ATVs ($5/year), snowmobiles ($10/year) and boats ($1-$15/year, depending on size of craft)
— Cross-country ski pass increases of $2/daily and $5/annually

Shreader says the increases are OK by him,.

“If the increase goes from $5 to $10 to even $15, I would still pay it because it’s going to maintaining those places I like to be at.”


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