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Lt. Governor Tina Smith Announces “Free Park Friday” in Minnesota

11/20/2017 2:10:42 PM

Entrance fees to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be waived on Friday, November 24, 2017
ST. PAUL, MN – Lt. Governor Tina Smith today announced “Free Park Friday” in Minnesota highlighting that entrance fees to all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be waived on Friday, November 24, 2017. Lt. Governor Smith encourages all Minnesotans to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends on the day after Thanksgiving.
“I wish everyone in Minnesota a peaceful, warm Thanksgiving on Thursday. And on Friday after Thanksgiving, I can't think of anything better than visiting one of Minnesota's spectacular State Parks, with free admission,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I hope to visit Judge Magney State Park on the North Shore this Friday, but no matter where you are in Minnesota there is probably a State Park within 30 miles.”
Research shows that spending time outdoors benefits children and adults, including improving mood, enhancing creative thinking and problem solving, promoting a conservation ethic, and improving physical fitness. On Thanksgiving Day, the average American consumes around 4,500 calories. A brisk walk can burn about 300 calories in one hour.
“Free Park Friday is a great way to visit a park new to you and extend your family holiday a day further,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota State Parks and Trails. “We hope families who visit on Free Park Friday will return throughout the winter season to hike, snowshoe and participate in naturalist-led programs. The benefits of spending more time outdoors are well documented.”
Visitors and families who visit parks throughout the winter season can participate in hundreds of naturalist-led state park programs, or they can bird watch and search for other wildlife. A few parks will offer special programs on Free Park Friday. Examples include:
·         Fire Starting – Learn how to start a fire without matches or a lighter from 12pm to 2pm at Tettegouche State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore. Meet at the park’s fireplace plaza behind the Visitor Center.
·         Beavers in Winter – Find out how beavers survive and thrive in cold weather from 10am to 11:3am at Whitewater State Park near Winona. Meet at the visitor center for a brief introduction, then take a hike to look for signs of beaver.
·         Family Turkey Trek – Take a naturalist led one-mile hike to the upper cliff line of the quarry in search of a wild turkey or signs of wild turkey from 3pm to 4 pm at Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne.
Before you graduate to all of that, check out a state park or recreation area on Friday. Get directions and find recommended hikes online at the Free Park Friday page. Drive in at no cost and leave hours later with a wealth of fond memories.
For additional resources on things to do and places to stay across the state, visit, and share your sights this season on social media using #OnlyinMN.
Read the Governor and Lt. Governor’s proclamation here.
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