Flooding closes parts of Fort Snelling State Park

Flooding from the spring thaw has led officials to close parts of Fort Snelling State Park, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday.

The park, which is one of the state’s busiest, most popular destinations, is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, which both have rising water levels.

The DNR said most facilities within the park are closed and key locations, including Picnic Island and Pike Island, aren’t accessible. However, accessible parts of the park will remain open.

"We know how eager folks are to get outside and do their social distancing in nature now that spring has finally arrived, so reducing access in response to seasonal flooding is particularly difficult this year," said Fort Snelling State Park manager Nadine Meyer. "But our first priority is ensuring the safety of the public and our staff, so these are steps we have to take."

The DNR said other recreational facilities around the state have also been impacted by melting snow, heavy rain and flooding, leading to closures in some areas. Some closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions.

The department urged people to check the DNR’s closure website for current conditions before visiting.

Due to the pandemic, people are also reminded when visiting public areas to:

  • Stay as close to home as possible.
  • Practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet from people from other households).
  • Explore the range of nearby public lands available to avoid over-loading busy areas.
  • Visit early or late in the day, when there are fewer people.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home if sick.