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Free entrance to Minnesota state parks, recreation areas on Friday, Nov. 25

Minnesotans are encouraged to explore the outdoors with friends and family over the holiday weekend.

EP Douglas County
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ALEXANDRIA — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will waive entrance fees to all 75 state parks and recreation areas, including Lake Carlos State Park, on Friday, Nov. 25 — the day after Thanksgiving.

This “Free Park Day” is one of four days each year on which the DNR waives the vehicle permit requirement to enter state parks and recreation areas. The goal of Free Park Days is to encourage Minnesotans to get outdoors and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of spending time in nature.

“Minnesota state parks and recreation areas are open year-round and provide places of peace and beauty to recharge during the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season,” DNR Parks and Trails Division Director Ann Pierce said. “It’s a fantastic time to get out into nature with friends and family following Thanksgiving celebrations.”

According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature is linked to improved attention, lower stress, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even increased empathy and cooperation.

There’s a state park or recreation area within 30 miles of most Minnesotans. Free Park Days provide an opportunity to visit a state park or recreation area for the first time or return to an old favorite to discover something new.

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Most state park offices and visitor centers will be lightly staffed on Nov. 25. Before and during their visit, visitors are encouraged to:

  • Check visitor alerts and find directions on state park pages via the  DNR website  ( mndnr.gov ).
  • Download  GeoPDF maps  ( mndnr.gov/mobile/geopdf ) before the trip. These maps will display a user’s current location, like other map applications, but the user does not have to be connected to the internet or have cell service to use them.
  • Visit the self-orientation signs near the park entrance for suggestions on what to see and do while visiting.
  • Help protect these special places for the future by staying on trails and leaving no trace.

For more information, visit the free entrance days to all Minnesota state parks page of the DNR website ( mndnr.gov/freeparkdays ) or contact the DNR Information Center by emailing info.dnr@state.mn.us or by calling 888-646-6367 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

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