As the heavy snowpack across Minnesota melts under warming temperatures, some state parks, trails and other outdoor recreational facilities may be closed to protect public safety and infrastructure. Users should check current conditions before visiting, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
As of Monday morning, access to most of Fort Snelling State Park, one of Minnesota’s busiest recreational units, was blocked off, and the park is expected to close completely Monday depending on how high flood waters from the Minnesota River rise. Interpretive events have been canceled through mid-April.
“We know how eager folks are to get out and enjoy nature now that spring has finally arrived, so closing the park — or even limiting access — is not a decision we make lightly,” said Fort Snelling State Park manager Kelli Bruns. “But our first priority is ensuring the safety of the public and our staff, so these are steps we have to take.”
Located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers near the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, the park is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, birders and school groups.
“Nature is beautiful, but it’s also a force to be reckoned with,” said Greg Salo, assistant director for DNR’s Enforcement Division. “Don’t drive into standing water. Don’t get too close to flowing water, because spring currents are powerful and with icy water temperatures, they’re especially hazardous. Have fun, but be careful!”
Other recreational facilities around the state also have been impacted by melting snow, heavy rain and flooding. Some roads and trails in state forests, state parks, recreation areas, and wildlife management areas are closed temporarily because they are not firm enough to support vehicle traffic without causing damage.
The closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions. People are advised to check on current conditions before heading out. For Minnesota DNR managed units, consult mndnr.gov/closures.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources works to integrate and sustain the interdependent values of a healthy environment, a sustainable economy, and livable communities. DNR protects the state’s natural heritage by conserving the diversity of natural lands, waters, and fish and wildlife that provide the foundation for Minnesota’s recreational and natural resource-based economy. DNR provides access to enrich public outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hunting, fishing, wildlife-watching, camping, skiing, hiking, biking, motorized recreation, and conservation education through a state outdoor recreation system that includes parks, trails, wildlife management areas, scientific and natural areas, water trails, and other facilities.