By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WCCO) — Just a short walk in the woods will tell you that it’s already started.

“I like the temperature, it’s just nice to take walks; the reds and oranges. I think it’s the exact opposite of what Minnesota usually is,” director of Explore Minnesota John Edman said.

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For months, Minnesota has been green. But less green in the trees means more green for Minnesota’s tourism industry.

“Tourism is a big thing in the state of Minnesota,” Edman said. “It’s a $15 billion industry. That’s a lot of money.”

And according to Edman, 25 percent of that money is made in the fall. That’s a big chunk of change for a season that’s on the clock.

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Explore Minnesota and and the Department of Natural Resources announced a new partnership Tuesday.

In this seemingly shortest of seasons, a new relationship has been forged with a common goal: helping locals and visitors alike find their own piece of autumn magic.

“It’s not just about the colors,” Edman said. “Hiking, biking, fishing, golf — it’s a great time to get out and enjoy those things.”

Whatever your passion, take advantage of it now because we all know what comes next.

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“I think people think Minnesota is so boring,” Edman said. “I think fall is one of the best times to visit. There’s a lot of fun lakes to walk around [and] state parks. People have to realize that fall is fleeting; it won’t last. We want people to get out and explore Minnesota.”

John Lauritsen