New DNR tool matches MN park visitors with fun stuff


Canoeists paddle across Lake Itasca in Itasca State Park. Luke Taylor/File for MPR News

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has launched a new website to help potential state park visitors find what they’re looking for.

The ParkFinder includes drop-down menus where users can select things like camping, bike trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds and nature programs. A map then displays which state parks have those features.

“This is just one more tool we have in our toolbox to try to help make it easy for people to find those experiences they really want to have,” said Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division.

Rivers said the DNR has been making efforts to attract new visitors to state parks. Legacy Amendment money has helped fund programs that teach people how to camp or paddle a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board.

She said DNR officials also hope the Park Finder website will give the DNR more data on what types of activities Minnesotans are looking for in their state parks.

All 75 of Minnesota’s state parks will be free on Saturday as part of National Get Outdoors Day.