DNR Question of the Week Archive





What sort of outdoor recreational opportunities are available for people with disabilities?

Since 1972, the DNR has worked to ensure all people, regardless of ability level, have equal opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. This has included erecting more than 300 fishing piers and platforms designed to meet the needs of people with physical disabilities on everything from small rivers to large lakes throughout the state. Thirty-eight accessible hunting sites are also used in the woods and wetlands by people with special needs who are hunting for deer, goose and ducks. The DNR has also altered camping facilities at state parks, and trails in parks and throughout the state to ensure accessible outdoor experiences. These new features have not only opened the outdoors to people with disabilities, but also allowed others to take part in those activities and explore parts of the state that they might not have done otherwise. For example, fishing structures have become popular spots for families with small children and anglers without access to a boat. Paved trails can be used year round and for a wide variety of activities, from hiking and biking to inline skating and cross-country skiing. As with any recreational activity, there are varying degrees of accessibility to the facilities. Thus, it is important to find out the level of difficulty before leaving home. Information on the DNR's Accessible Outdoors program is available at the DNR's website or by clicking on the blue wheelchair symbol on the DNR Web site.

Larry Nelson, DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife deputy director


Gov. Tim Pawlenty proclaimed October as Invasive Species Awareness Month. How serious is the threat from these non-native plant and animal invaders and how has the battle gone so far?

Non-native invasive species of plants and animals harm Minnesota's valuable resources, threaten outdoor recreation opportunities, increase costs for industry and agriculture, and diminish the natural heritage of significant sites such as state parks, and public and private natural areas. The zebra mussel, soybean aphid, Eurasian watermilfoil, European buckthorn and purple loosestrife are a few examples of invasive species that are displacing native species, and degrading natural, managed and agricultural landscapes. The potential arrival of many new invasive species such as gypsy moth, silver carp and emerald ash borer could cause more economic and environmental harm. Many agencies, organizations and citizens continue to help prevent new introductions into the state, report and contain new infestations, and reduce the harm caused by invasive species. However, the problem is perpetual and requires continuous action by everyone. Invasive Species Awareness Month is an opportunity for government to join forces with business, industry, conservation and recreational groups, community organizations and citizens to raise awareness of and take action against the introduction and spread of invasive species.

Jay Rendall, DNR Invasive Species Program coordinator


The DNR is compiling weekly waterfowl migration reports throughout the fall hunting season. What is the purpose of these reports and what will they show?

The waterfowl migration and hunting reports are a compilation of information from state and federal wildlife managers across Minnesota. The information provides an assessment of local habitat conditions, weather, waterfowl migration in each area, and other pertinent information, such as hunting pressure and hunting success, if available. Each report also includes tables that show actual waterfowl count data from weekly surveys. The purpose of the weekly reports is not to pinpoint specific hunting locations but simply provide hunters with additional information for the areas they hunt. This will allow hunters to compare survey counts from week to week or last year, and gauge what waterfowl migration is like throughout the hunting season. Birdwatchers may also find the information contained in the reports useful. The reports are updated each Thursday, and are available on the DNR's Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/waterfowl.

Steve Cordts, DNR Waterfowl Staff specialist


The fur coat of a deer changes colors depending on the time of year - a reddish color in the spring and brown in the fall. Why does this happen?

The deer's coat is designed to provide both a means for thermoregulation and camouflage. Summer coats appear reddish and are thin, allowing deer to better cope with heat stress. In the fall, deer begin a process of molting, which is triggered by hormonal changes that reflect the changing seasons. The reddish summer coat turns into a faded gray or brown color as the new winter coat begins to grow. The new coat is comprised of two layers. The outer guard hairs are hollow, stiff and grow about two inches longer than the undercoat. The inner layer is soft and dense, which insulates deer from the cold weather and snow. Coat color, regardless of the season, tends to be darker in forested areas and lighter in agricultural areas where deer are exposed to more direct sunlight.

Michelle Carstensen Powell, Natural Resource specialist-CWD


DNR Question of the Week Archive