REGIONAL— The Department of Natural Resources is looking to hear from the public about its ongoing deer management, just not in person right now. The DNR announced this week that it is …
REGIONAL— The Department of Natural Resources is looking to hear from the public about its ongoing deer management, just not in person right now. The DNR announced this week that it is canceling a wide variety of public events to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That list of cancellations includes deer management open houses that had been scheduled in much of northeastern Minnesota this past week and next week.
Instead of public meetings, the DNR is encouraging members of the public interested in deer management to contact their local wildlife manager by phone or email to discuss any concerns they have regarding deer management in the area. The public can contact Tower Area Wildlife Manager Tom Rusch at 218-300-7861 or by email at email@example.com. In the International Falls area, the public should call or email area wildlife manager Larry Petersen at 218-286-5434 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The agency is asking the public to reach out to their local wildlife manager by Wednesday, April 1.
The public meetings, now canceled, were part of the DNR’s recently-developed deer management plan and the agency notes that public engagement remains a top priority. As such, the DNR is exploring a range of digital options to support public meetings and other engagement opportunities. Minnesotans should check the DNR’s website, the DNR’s social media channels, and email updates from the agency for more information about how to weigh in on deer management or other concerns.
State parks still open
State parks, recreation areas, campgrounds, and other public lands remain open to the public for people to enjoy.
“Now is a great time to get outdoors,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “Parks are a great place to do some social distancing and enjoy the health benefits of nature.”
Consistent with state health guidelines, however, visitors will experience some changes in services available. State park visitor centers, contact stations, and other ancillary buildings will be closed until further notice. With contact stations closed, visitors will pay through self-pay and informational kiosks located at each facility.
For the time being, state parks naturalist programs are canceled.
State park bathrooms, vault toilets and shower buildings that are currently open will remain open, with increased cleaning protocols.