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 www.dnr.state.mn.us/rxfire.
Jason Garms, DNR prairie biologist
Q: While hunting this fall, can I carry a shotgun for turkey and a bow for deer?
A: No. It is unlawful to possess a firearm while archery deer hunting. This applies to bow hunters with a crossbow permit as well.
The exception is that if you have a permit to carry a handgun, you may have it while archery deer hunting, but this provision does not extend to shotguns or rifles.
If you’d like to use a shotgun for turkey, you’ll need to take your bow home, back to camp or secure it in a vehicle first.
Lt. Mike Martin, DNR Enforcement Division district supervisor
Q: What should I do if I find zebra mussels while removing my dock or boat lift from the water this fall?
A: If you find zebra mussels or other aquatic invasive species that have not been sighted on the lake before, note the exact location, take a photo and keep a sample for positive identification.
Then, call 888-646-6367 or contact a local aquatic invasive species specialist or DNR fisheries office immediately.
You may place the dock or lift on the adjacent shoreline, but you must remove all aquatic plants and animals before transporting it to another location for storage, cleaning or repair.
A boat lift, dock, swim raft, or associated equipment that has been removed from any body of water may not be placed in another water body until a minimum of 21 days have passed.
If you are hiring a service provider to transport your equipment, make sure they are permitted by the DNR. Find a list of permitted lake services providers on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp.
Heidi Wolf, invasive species unit supervisor