Goal 2: Outdoor Recreation

Minnesota's outdoor recreation opportunities meet the needs of new and existing participants so all benefit from nature.

Minnesota consistently ranks among one of the top states in which to live, and a key factor is our healthy natural environment with abundant parks, natural lands, and high-quality recreation opportunities. All Minnesotans should be able to access and enjoy the benefits of natural areas and outdoor time. We have long been challenged, however, to maintain basic operations and maintenance at many state recreation facilities. Demand is increasing for new and enriched outdoor experiences, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is expected to increase. New, targeted strategies will provide support to help connect families with nature and active outdoor experiences.



Four key trends informing Goal 2 strategies:

  1. Outdoor recreation participation is changing, with some uses declining and others emerging or increasing.
  2. Minnesotans have competing priorities for leisure time, but continue to value outdoor recreation and nature experiences.
  3. Demands on outdoor recreation infrastructure are increasing and changing, while funds for maintenance and upgrades are decreasing.
  4. Minnesota's population is urbanizing, diversifying, and aging. Household compositions are shifting.



The following strategies serve to guide targeted actions related to Goal 2:

  • Learn and adapt to how families with young children and others want to interact with Minnesota's natural resources. Evaluate the effectiveness of DNR outreach and adjust programs and facilities accordingly.
  • Develop and promote outdoor programs and activities for people of all backgrounds. Especially work to provide services for families with children, ethnically and culturally diverse communities, women, youth, and young adults who have an interest in starting new outdoor traditions.
  • Leverage outreach by engaging our partners in outdoor recreation recruitment and retention strategies. Expand our capacity to get more Minnesotans outdoors by working with others to use innovative tools and strategies, such as online programming, digital applications, and self-led activities.
  • Retain current outdoor recreationists. Develop and implement retention and marketing approaches to minimize loss of current participants.
  • Maintain and enhance Minnesota's outdoor recreation system. Ensure high-quality, easy-to-access and safe recreational opportunities.