REGIONAL—The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is waiving entrance fees to all 75 state parks and recreation areas on Friday, Nov. 24 – the day after Thanksgiving. This …
REGIONAL—The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is waiving entrance fees to all 75 state parks and recreation areas on Friday, Nov. 24 – the day after Thanksgiving. This “Free Park Day” is one of four days each year when the DNR waives the requirement for a vehicle permit at state parks and recreation areas. The goal of Free Park Days is to encourage Minnesotans to get outdoors and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of spending time in nature.
“During the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season, Minnesota state parks and recreation areas are the perfect places to enjoy the tranquility of nature,” said Ann Pierce, director of the DNR Parks and Trails Division. “We encourage people to get outside with friends and family after Thanksgiving gatherings to enjoy the calming sights and sounds of nature.”
Many published studies show the positive physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature. According to the American Psychological Association, the calming and restorative qualities of nature help lower cortisol levels, which leads to reduced stress and improved cognitive function.
Some state parks will offer naturalist programs on Nov. 24. Among the programs planned on Free Park Day are guided nature walks at Whitewater, Wild River and Split Rock Lighthouse state parks. Most naturalist programs are free, but sometimes require advance registration. Check the parks and trails event calendar webpage(mndnr.gov/ptcalendar) for details.