DNR proposes $290 million budget, price increases to maintain parks and facilities

Minnesota DNR requests fee hikes

Minnesota DNR requests fee hikes

Soon the fees to go fishing, boating, or attend a Minnesota state park could go up.

It’s all part of the budget request from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which would also lead to some major improvements to facilities.

It’s the largest budget request to date from the DNR.

“This is a really transformative initiative,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said

To maintain the parks, along with our lakes and recreation facilities, the DNR is proposing a nearly $290 million budget.

“It’s the largest request that we’ve had,” Strommen said.

Strommen says this money would do things like re-vitalize camping experiences, improve trails, manage natural resources, modernize boating access and upgrade fishing infrastructure.

“Habits and use patterns have changed since the last generation when these systems were designed, so wanting to make sure particularly with the surplus the state has that we’re investing that in those places,” Strommen said. “Whether they’re on the water, hiking, or hunting, we want them to have that world-class outdoor experience.”

This budget also means you could pay more for your favorite hobbies. For instance, the daily vehicle permit for parks would go from $7 to $10, a fishing license for Minnesota residents would jump from $25 to $30 and 3-year watercraft registration would increase up to 150% with the largest boats.

“Many of those fees haven’t been raised in quite some time,” Strommen said.

The last time the price of watercraft registration increased was in 2006. The legislature last increased the price of select fishing licenses in 2017.

Many parkgoers who spoke with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked about the potential rate hikes.

“I don’t have a problem with that, prices on most everything are going up,” said Randy Boser, who lives in Plymouth. “People will continue to use them and I think the prices are fair and I don’t think it’s a concern.”

“The preservation of the land, yeah I’d pay more,” said Cathy Nordman, from Burnsville.

“I am absolutely willing to pay more,” said Kathy Milner, from Minneapolis.

The budget request is still making its way through the state legislature.

For a closer look at the budget request, click here.