DNR finishes 2015 with record numbers

Staff report

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a report at the end of 2015 about its accomplishments for the year. Topping the list was the fact that a record number of people visited Minnesota state parks and enjoyed trout fishing in lakes and streams in 2015.

In addition to a record number of people visiting state parks in 2015, overnight stays were up 11 percent from the previous year and daily permit sales up 17 percent.

Also, a record number of anglers purchased trout and salmon stamps in 2015.

The agency noted other accomplishments in 2015, including a growing deer herd. The agency completed its new deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota, covering 40 of the 128 deer permit areas in the state. The new goals reflect the desires shared by interested people who participated in the deer goal-setting process to increase deer populations.

The agency developed a new interactive online tool to better deliver deer-hunting and management information.

Finally, preliminary estimates show the 2015 deer harvest increased 14 percent over 2014.

Another highlight for the DNR is an improved fleet of aircraft for fighting wildfires. The DNR replaced its two CL-215 water scooping, firefighting aircraft with four FireBoss airplanes and two-single engine air tankers. The CL-215s were aging and parts were difficult to find. The new airplanes are faster and more nimble, improving initial fire attack response time while saving the agency $1 million in maintenance costs.

The DNR also sold 918,500 cords of state wood, exceeding the state’s timber sales target of 800,000 cords.

According to the DNR, it also made strides in improving groundwater management, protecting waters from invasive carp and enhancing pheasant populations and hunting-land access.

“Whether you hunt, hike, camp, or just appreciate the state’s abundant natural resources, Minnesotans can take satisfaction in seeing more recreation opportunities and enhanced conservation efforts in 2015,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us to increase pheasant and deer populations, which are key priorities in 2016, but I believe we’re on the right track.”

Find a favorite park

In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources launched Parkfinder, a new mobile-friendly app that helps visitors learn about park locations and amenities. The information can be viewed on cell phones or on computer. The page allows visitors to search the state for parks by amenities, programs, lodging, accessibility and more.

Check out this new DNR offering at:

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