(KROC-AM) -- 2016 was a busy year according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. There was a record number of visitors that utilized the state’s parks and trails system.

Because of that, the DNR is asking for fee increases to support the increased demand for parks and trails maintenance and services.

Shell Rock River water trail. Courtesy: DNR
Shell Rock River water trail. Courtesy: DNR

According to a DNR news release:

Operations and maintenance costs are paid for out of the DNR's general fund allocation and user fees that support dedicated accounts have not kept up with rising demands on the state’s parks and trails. To cut costs, the DNR has, among other things, shortened camping seasons at several state parks, reduced winter services such as ski trail grooming, and postponed some needed repairs to facilities. 

Fund allocation along with modest fee increases to ensure that Minnesota’s state parks, its lakes, its water trails and its extensive multi-use trails—for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ATV riding, biking and hiking—remain well-maintained attractions.

Proposed fee increases include:

  • 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); and
  • Cross-country ski pass increases of $2/daily and $5/annually.

The release also stated that there are two new campgrounds opening this summer at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine and Whitewater state parks.

Plus, there's a new state water trail through southern Minnesota - the 20-mile Shell Rock River State Water Trail - which begins at Fountain Lake in Freeborn County and passes through Myre-Big Island State Park en route to the Iowa border.

The DNR has also acquired six miles of unused rail trail and completed two critical trail connections for the Mill Towns State Trail: a bridge across the Cannon River to Lake Byllesby Regional Park and a Highway 52 underpass.

For more information, go to the DNR website.

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