DNR to campers: All but four Minnesota state parks are open, campsites and cabin reservations resume Tuesday morning

Outdoors enthusiasts who want to camp this week or a year from
now –including the 2012 Fourth of July weekend – can once again
make reservations at Minnesota state parks, starting at 8 a.m.
Tuesday, July 26, according to the Department of Natural Resources
(DNR).

Due to the high call volume the reservation system has been
experiencing since the shutdown, the DNR recommends making
reservations online at stayatmnparks.com, if possible. For those who
prefer to speak with an operator, reservations can be made at
866-857-2757.

All but four Minnesota state parks have reopened following the
shutdown. Camden, Old Mill, St. Croix and Upper Sioux Agency state
parks remain closed due to extensive storm damage.

Reservations can be made up to a year ahead, but because the
reservation system was closed during the shutdown, Minnesota state
parks have not yet taken any reservations for July 4, 2012, so all
3,323 reservable campsites and lodging at all parks will be up for
grabs.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and it provides an opportunity
for whoever calls or goes online first to get their pick of the
most popular locations in Minnesota for their holiday getaway,”
said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s Division of Parks and
Trails. “Tomorrow at 8 a.m., every room in Douglas Lodge at Itasca
State Park, every reservable campsite on the North Shore, and every
camper cabin throughout the state will be available. We expect our
reservation system will be very busy.”

Parks within approximately an hour’s drive of the Twin Cities that
have reservable campsites available for the upcoming weekend, July
29-31, include:

· Afton State Park (backpack-in only) in Hastings

· Frontenac State Park near Red Wing

· Lake Maria State Park (backpack-in only) in Monticello

· Nerstrand Big Woods State Park near Northfield

· Sakatah Lake State Park near Faribault

· Wild River State Park near Center City

· William O’Brien State Park in Marine on St. Croix.

There are even a few reservable sites left this weekend on the
North Shore at Cascade River, Gooseberry Falls, Temperance River
and Tettegouche state parks.

During the last week in July in 2010, Minnesota state parks had
348,000 day visitors and 59,000 overnight visitors.

Standard campsites can be reserved for $12 to $20 a night (plus $5
for electric hook-ups), not including vehicle permits, which are
required to enter Minnesota state parks. Vehicle permits are $5 for
one night or $25 for a 12-month permit providing unlimited access
to all 74 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.

For those who would rather wait and see what the weather is like,
up to thirty percent of campsites at Minnesota state parks are
non-reservable and available to campers on a first-come,
first-served basis.

For more information, including descriptions of each park’s
scenery, wildlife and recreational opportunities, call 651-296-6157
(888-646-6367) or visit mndnr.gov. Some parks have online virtual
tours, which provide park previews.

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