September 2014

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.


Q: Our school is planning a field trip to a Minnesota state park. Will we need to pay entry fees?

A: Minnesota state parks will issue a free daily vehicle permit for any vehicle transporting K-12 students, chaperones, teachers and coaches for school-sanctioned activities. This applies to day trips, not overnight camping. Please have your drivers identify themselves at the park entrance, and enjoy your visit.

Amy Barrett, Parks and Trails communications project supervisor


Q: How does prescribed burning benefit prairies and grasslands?

A: When properly planned and managed, fire can rejuvenate prairies and grasslands while helping to prevent brush and trees from taking over. Historically, periodic wildfires swept across Minnesota’s prairies, killing or suppressing woody plants and encouraging deep-rooted grasses and flowers.

Today, the Department of Natural Resources uses prescribed burning to improve wildlife habitat, control weed species and enhance native plant communities. Using a carefully-devised burn plan, fire crews ignite a specific plot of land and monitor the fire from start to finish. The burn planning also includes leaving a portion of the land as undisturbed habitat. After a burn, sun-loving native prairie plants will quickly emerge from the warmed black soil and develop lush regrowth.

For more information, visit

Jason Garms, DNR prairie biologist


DNR Question of the Week Archive