DNR news releases, June 5, 2014

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources header

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #42                                                                               June 5, 2014
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.
Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr.

IN THIS ISSUE
New online tool makes it easy to find the Minnesota state park that’s the best fit
Rivers and lakes: high and moving fast
Minnesota turtles now crossing roads to find a place to nest
Free DNR decontamination trainings for lake service provider businesses
DNR to consider recreation rule changes
All-terrain vehicle safety week is June 8-15

 

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

New online tool makes it easy to find the Minnesota state park that’s the best fit

Just in time for National Get Outdoors Day – coming up Saturday, June 14 – the Department of Natural Resources is rolling out a new tool to help plan an outdoor adventure at a Minnesota state park or recreation area. Looking for a Minnesota state park with a swimming beach, a bike trail and drive-in campsites? Or a park with an accessible camper cabin and fishing pier? ParkFinder – as the new, interactive tool is called – can help people find which of Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas best match their needs and interests.

In just a few clicks, users can enter search criteria, view the results and make a reservation. 

“With 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas to choose from, we know some people don’t quite know where to start,” said Erika Rivers, director of the Parks and Trails Division. “This new tool will make trip planning quicker and easier than ever. It’s an example of how the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division is using technology to provide better customer service.”

Search options include where to find:

  • Nature programs.
  • Trails – including hiking, biking, horse, ski and snowmobile trails.
  • Rental equipment – including canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, cross-country skis and snowshoes.
  • Overnight camping and lodging facilities – including drive-in, cart-in and canoe-in campsites; RV sites; camper cabins and more.
  • Amenities – such as beaches, playgrounds, fishing piers and picnic shelters, including which ones are accessible to wheelchairs and other mobility-assist devices.

ParkFinder was designed and developed by the Parks and Trails Division in collaboration with the DNR’s Information Technology staff and can be found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/parkfinder.

Entry to all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas is free on National Get Outdoors Day, and many of them have planned special activities to introduce kids and families to the fun of geocaching, kayaking, camping and other types of outdoor recreation.

For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/getoutdoorsday.html or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        June 5, 2014 

Rivers and lakes: high and moving fast

Following recent rains across the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges boaters, paddlers and swimmers to not let their guard down. Lake, river and stream water levels are high and moving fast.

“People should always wear their lifejackets every time they step on a boat and especially during times of high water,” said Kara Owens, DNR boating safety specialist.

A no-wake zone is currently in effect on the St. Croix River from Taylors Falls to Prescott. The Minneapolis locks on the Mississippi River are closed to recreational traffic. High water has been declared on Lake Minnetonka.

“High water levels mean a fast and strong moving current, which many boat operators and swimmers are not used to, and that can create dangerous situations,” Owens said.

The swift current also makes it more difficult for even an experienced swimmer to swim or stay afloat if their boat or canoe capsized.

Boaters should also be aware with high water more debris is in the water.

“Debris will often float just at or below the surface. Hitting a log at high speed could result in anything from a broken propeller to a ruined lower unit -- or worse, serious injuries to those who wanted to enjoy a day on the water,” said Owens.

So far this year, one person has died in a boating accident and six people have drowned in Minnesota.

Owens said 10 lives could be saved in Minnesota each year if people just wore their life jackets.

The DNR recommends these safety tips for boaters:

  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 
  • Do not overload the boat.
  • If boat capsizes, try to reboard or stay with it until rescuers arrive.
  • Go boating with a friend. Boating safety increases with numbers.
  • Tell someone the boating destination and planned return time.

For more information, visit DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/boatwater/index.html.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    June 5, 2013

Minnesota turtles now crossing roads to find a place to nest

 The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding people that turtles crossing roads now are often moving to familiar nesting locations.

Allowing turtles to cross the roads is vital to the preservation of regional populations.

“Many turtles and other species are killed on Minnesota roads each year, especially during the nesting season,” said Carol Hall, DNR herpetologist, “In fact, roadway mortality is believed to be a major factor in turtle population declines throughout the United States.”

In Minnesota, where all turtles are mainly aquatic, overland journeys usually occur: in connection with seasonal movements between different wetland habitats; during the annual early summer nesting migration of egg laden females; or when newly hatched youngsters seek out the backwaters and ponds for their permanent home. Turtles can travel many miles during a single year, and may even be found far from water.

Giving Turtles a Hand
The following points should be remembered:

  • Think safety. Simply pulling off the road and turning on hazard lights may alert other drivers to slow down. Be aware of surroundings and traffic.
  • Avoid excessive handling. While wanting to inspect turtles closely is understandable, excessive handling can disrupt normal behavior. Prolonged examination of turtles should therefore be limited to only one or two individuals of each species.
  • Allow unassisted road crossings. When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic, allow them to do so. Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements, as doing otherwise will often cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells.
  • Handle turtles gently. If necessary to pick them up, all turtles except Snappers and Softshells ("leatherbacks" - see link below for more information on these species that may bite when picked up) should be grasped gently along the shell edge near the mid-point of the body. Be advised that many turtles empty their bladder when lifted off the ground, so be careful not to drop them if they should suddenly expel water.
  • Maintain direction of travel. Always move turtles in the same direction they were traveling in when encountered. Turtles should always be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible. It may seem helpful to "assist" the turtle in its journey by moving them to a nearby waterbody, but it is important to remember the phrase, "If you care, leave it there."

Transportation and parks departments can help turtles by not mowing ditches during peak nesting season (typically late May to early July in Minnesota), as many turtles like to nest on the elevated roadway shoulders. If mowing is absolutely necessary, an 8-inch deck-height is recommended.

For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/helping-turtles-roads.html.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         June 5, 2014
 

Free DNR decontamination trainings for lake service provider businesses

The DNR is offering two trainings this summer for lake service provider (LSP) businesses interested in learning how to remove aquatic invasive species (AIS) using hot-water/high-pressure decontamination methods. Participants will receive hands-on practice cleaning boats using the specialized equipment.

“This is our second year offering decontamination training to lake service providers,” said April Rust, DNR invasive species training coordinator. “The class helps businesses gain the skills they need – and learn the tricks of the trade – to provide AIS decontamination services to their customers.”

Businesses that complete the training will be included on the DNR’s online list of lake service providers trained to use hot-water/high-pressure decontamination equipment.

The two trainings have limited space and require pre-registration. They are scheduled on:

• June 18 (1-4:30 p.m.), DNR Brainerd area office, Brainerd.
• Aug. 6 (1-4:30 p.m.), Tonka Bay Marine, Tonka.

Registration deadline is one week prior to each training. Classes will be cancelled if the registration minimum is not reached.

To register, or get more information, contact Rust at april.rust@state.mn.us or call 651-259-5706 or 888-646-6367.

If a lake service provider business does not have an LSP permit yet, basic LSP training is offered in the morning before the decontamination training sessions.

Visit the LSP registration page www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/mandatory.html to sign up for training and a permit.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          June 5, 2014 

DNR to consider recreation rule changes

For the first time in a long time, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reviewing recreation rules at state parks, recreation areas, trails and forests and invites public comments until 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 25.

“Some of the current rules are more than 30 years old,” said Erika Rivers, director of the Parks and Trails Division. “It’s time to give them a fresh look, put them in plain language and weed out obsolete references.”

Rule changes to be considered could include: 

  • Extending state park and recreation area hours of operation.
  • Allowing camping in undeveloped parts of state parks and recreation areas.
  • Prohibiting wildlife feeding.
  • Clarifying the activities permitted at state recreation areas.
  • Other topics of interest or concern to Minnesota citizens.

Links to current DNR rules are posted on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov  (http://go.usa.gov/8Dqe). Comments can be sent by email to recreationrules.dnr@state.mn.us; by mail to Recreation Rules, DNR Parks and Trails, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 39, St. Paul, MN 55155-4039; or by fax to 651-296-1157.

For more information, contact Rebecca Wooden at 651-259-5584, 800-657-3929 or by email at recreationrules.dnr@state.mn.us

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DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         June 5, 2014 

All-terrain vehicle safety week is June 8-15

Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed June 8-15 as all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety week in Minnesota.

More than 600,000 ATVs are used in Minnesota by men, women and children for outdoor recreation and to support their daily livelihood. State law requires anyone born after July 1, 1987, to have a certificate showing they have taken safety training if they are 11 or older and want to ride on public land, trails, and frozen waters. The course also is available for adults.

In the last 5 years, 83 Minnesotans have lost their lives in ATV accidents.

“People who have taken ATV safety training are involved in fewer accidents compared to folks who haven’t had the training, said Lt. Leland Owens, recreational vehicle coordinator, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division. “That's why we encourage ATV safety training for all ages.”

The DNR promotes safety when operating an ATV:

  • Always wear protective gear, (helmet, eye protection, long sleeve shirt, gloves, long pants, boots).
  • Slow down. Speed is a major contributing factor in most ATV injury and fatal accidents.
  • If driving/riding in a side-by-side ATV, buckle up, and keep all body parts inside the side- by-side.
  • Be sober. Run an ATV under the influence of alcohol or narcotics and you could be charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony level DWI.
  • ATVs are not babysitters, parents need to make sure their kids take an ATV safety education course and supervise them always.

Don’t take riding ATVs lightly. Think safety when riding ATVs. For more information on ATV safety training go to: www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/vehicle/atv/index.html.

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This email was sent to editor@woodsnews.com on behalf of: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources · 500 Lafayette Road · Saint Paul, MN 55155 · 1-888-MINNDNR  

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