Minnesota is home to world-class fishing opportunities, abundant wildlife, award-winning state parks and thousands of miles of trails on both land and water, all of which add to our high quality of life and attract millions of visitors during all four seasons.
These sought-after outdoor experiences are primarily supported by those who use the resources, including hunters, anglers, state park visitors, trail users and boaters. Faced with imminent funding deficits – which would ultimately negatively affect citizens who value the state's natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities – the DNR is seeking a select few necessary but modest fee increases.
Hunting and fishing license dollars pay for the majority of the ongoing, day-to-day work critical to managing Minnesota's abundant and diverse fisheries and wildlife resources. Due to the rising cost of doing business, there's a growing gap between what Minnesotans expect and what current license revenue can support.
Hunting and fishing license dollars are restricted fees that go directly to the state's Game and Fish Fund. Without modest increases to some license fees, the fund will be in the red by July 1, 2019.
Each year, Minnesota's state parks, trails and water access sites connect more than 10 million visitors to the outdoors, boosting our quality of life along with the state's tourism economy. The cost of maintaining and providing these renowned outdoor recreation opportunities has outpaced revenue, even with record attendance and participation levels.
Increases to state parks, trails and other outdoor recreation user fees, which have remained stagnant for over a decade, will help bridge that gap.
The work of DNR conservation officers to protect the state's fish, wildlife and other natural resources, along with providing safety training and education, is largely funded by license dollars and user fees.
Increasing demands and costs impact enforcement capacity in the communities where anglers, hunters, trail users, boaters and others both live and recreate.
Additional details on current recreation fees, proposed increases and budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2018-19 can be found on the DNR's legislative resources page.
Mark Dayton proposes fishing and hunting fee hikes (Pioneer Press)