Funding Future for Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation

Jay Cooke State Park



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High quality, diverse, and abundant outdoor opportunities are available today because the state made significant investments in the past, but those same foundational investments are not being made today.

With more Minnesotans now enjoying our outdoor resources, it’s important that conservation and outdoor recreation are adequately and sustainably funded. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is undertaking a new project to proactively address this need and is asking Minnesotans for their help.  

Your input is critical to success

Minnesota’s unique and enviable outdoor spaces and places belong to all Minnesotans, so DNR needs to hear different perspectives about how people envision the future of conservation and outdoor recreation in our state. Whether you experience the outdoors through camping, boating, hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, trail riding, or something else entirely, we want to hear from you.

Together, we have the opportunity to build the future we want.

The best way to stay informed about public input opportunities and project updates is to sign up for the project email list. You can also visit this project’s engagement page, Investing in Minnesota’s Outdoor Resources, to explore current opportunities to share your input.

DNR’s approach

DNR is embarking on a transformational effort, in collaboration with Minnesotans, to identify a new funding framework to ensure that DNR can serve new, returning, and long-time outdoor enthusiasts, and sustainably manage our natural resources for generations to come.

Minnesotans will be co-creators in a vision for what is possible for the future of conservation and outdoor recreation. The approach will include diverse perspectives and focus on serving all Minnesotans equitably. It will allow DNR to manage in a more holistic manner while being adaptable to changing conditions. As with any funding source, accountability is a fundamental value.

Video: Commissioner Sarah Strommen invites Minnesotans to join the DNR in a new project to identify a future funding framework for conservation and outdoor recreation in the state.

Why change is needed

Minnesota’s current natural resources funding system can’t sustainably support continued conservation, natural resource management, and equitable access to quality outdoor recreation.  

For example, user fees cannot reasonably keep pace with inflation while also ensuring the DNR can appropriately steward resources and provide open and affordable access to the outdoors for all people. 
And, while Minnesotans have demonstrated support for the environment and outdoors through the constitutionally-dedicated Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, these funds are targeted to specific uses and thus not available to support some key aspects of natural resource management. 


Throughout 2021, the project will focus on idea generation and public engagement to identify a future vision and possible funding solutions. By the second half of 2022, we will have an actionable funding framework that is reflective of research, best practices, and diverse public input.

Thank you!

Your support for Minnesota’s outdoor recreation and conservation work is critical to the state’s future.

We believe collective support and stewardship of Minnesota’s natural resources can lead to solutions to some of our most pressing challenges: public health, community resilience, equity, climate, and economic and natural resource sustainability.