Minnesota is facing the imminent threat of funding cuts for fish and wildlife management, state parks, trails and other outdoor recreation opportunities.
Without support for modest user fee increases, hunters, anglers, state park visitors, snowmobilers, ATVers and boaters will feel the impacts, including:
Minnesotans will see a decline in the quality of hunting and fishing opportunities if proposed budget reductions are enacted. Less dollars for natural resources will mean:
These budget cuts will impact 1.5 million anglers, 600,000 hunters and 500,000 bird and wildlife watchers unless adequate funding is restored.
Hunting and fishing license dollars are restricted fees that go directly to the state's Game and Fish Fund. Since license fees were last raised in 2013, the state’s cost of doing business has continued to rise. Without modest increases to some license fees, the fund will be in the red by July 1, 2019.
Minnesotans will see a decline in services and maintenance of state parks, trails and boating access sites if proposed budget reductions are enacted. Less dollars for natural resources will mean:
These budget cuts will impact over 10 million visitors to Minnesota state parks and recreation areas unless adequate funding is restored.
State park and outdoor recreation user fees were last raised more than a decade ago. Costs have outstripped the revenues available to provide desired services and necessary maintenance. Increases to state parks, trails and other outdoor recreation user fees will help bridge that gap.
Minnesota DNR conservation officers protect the state's fish, wildlife and other natural resources, and provide safety training and education. Hunters and anglers support the work of conservation officers through hunting and fishing license fees.
In recent years, enforcement challenges and costs have continued to grow, outpacing revenues from hunting and fishing license sales. Less dollars for natural resources will mean:
Without support for modest license fee increases, the DNR’s enforcement program will not be able to fill current and future field officer vacancies, putting the state’s natural resources and recreating public at risk.
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.
DNR Commissioner Landwer pitches rationale for increases on license fees (Grand Rapids Herald Review)
DNR staff highlight need for Minn. license fee increase (Duluth News Tribune)