COVID-19 Response

Stay Safe Minnesota logoAs part of Minnesota's response to the COVID-19 pandemic we are postponing, adjusting, and canceling a variety of public events and services. DNR central office and regional offices are temporarily closed to the public at this time.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions we’re receiving, including how to continue to do business with us.

Please frequently check this page, as well as the DNR’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, for updates.

Guidance for:

Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan provides more information about the phased approach to reopening various business and social settings.

COVID-19 information in other languages:

 

Boating

Can I still go boating during the Stay Safe MN Order?

Yes, but remember that you should maintain recommended social distance when boating. Therefore, you may want to consider boating only with those in your household.  If you boat with people not from your household, most boaters will need to limit passengers to one or two to maintain a minimum six-foot distance between people from different households. Vessel size and design will affect capacity compatible with social distancing. Maintain social distancing between boats while launching and while on the water. Put safety first, wear a life jacket, and limit interactions at the boat ramp or dock. After boating, clean and drain your boat and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. All boating laws are in place.

Can I put out my dock/lift during the Stay Safe MN Order?

Yes. Lake Service providers that install, repair and remove docks, lifts and other water related equipment are allowed to do work under Executive Order 20-56. You may also install this equipment yourself.

Will watercraft inspections take place at the boat launches this season?

Yes, watercraft inspectors are at public accesses in 2020. Some are employed by the DNR, with the vast majority hired and supervised by local governments across the state. DNR employees conducting watercraft inspections are following CDC and MDH guidelines.

As a reminder, to help prevent aquatic invasive species, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to Clean, Drain, Dispose every time, whether or not a watercraft inspector or conservation officer is present.

Boat/ATV/OHV Registration and Renewals

How do I renew my boat/ATV/OHV registration when deputy registrar offices are closed?

Renew your watercraft, ATV, Snowmobile, Off-highway Motorcycle or ORV online. You will receive a temporary permit for immediate use.

How do I transfer a non-titled boat when deputy registrar offices are closed?

Non-titled boats require a bill of sale from the seller to the buyer that includes the boat description, registration number, hull identification number, seller’s name, buyer’s name, and seller’s signature. Complete the universal registration form and mail it along with the bill of sale. Fees vary depending on length, use, type of boat, and registration expiration. If you have questions, please contact the DNR at 888-646-6367. Please have your complete boat description (including registration number, hull identification number, and boat length) handy to expedite your call.

How do I transfer my Minnesota-titled boat when deputy registrar offices are closed?

If titled, the seller must sign the title certificate. The buyer’s name also must be printed on the title certificate, and the buyer must complete the back of the certificate. Fees vary depending on length, use, type of boat, and registration expiration. If you have questions, please contact the DNR at 888-646-6367. Please have your title and complete boat description (including registration number, hull identification number, and boat length) handy to expedite your call.

How do I register a boat that does not require a title?

To register a boat that has not previously been registered in Minnesota, complete the universal registration form or title application form if you chose to title. Include the bill of sale and the manufacturer statement of origin if you chose to title. Fees vary depending on length, use, type of boat and registration expiration. Proof of sales tax must be included. If purchased out of state, the difference in sales tax must be included if less than 6.875%. Local taxes may also be required. (Sales/use tax does not apply to private party sales.) NOTE: Titling is optional for watercraft older than 1980 and less than 16 feet. If you have questions, please contact the DNR at 888-646-6367.

How do I register a boat that requires a Minnesota title but was purchased out of state from a private party?

To register a boat that has not previously been registered in Minnesota, complete a title and registration application form and include the out-of-state title signed by the seller. Fees vary depending on length, use, and type of boat. Sales/use tax does not apply to private party sales. If you have questions, please contact the DNR at 888-646-6367.

How do I register a new boat that requires a Minnesota title but was purchased from an out-of-state dealer?

Complete a title and registration application form. Include the manufacturer’s statement of origin and proof of sales tax. The difference in sales tax must be included if less than 6.875%. Local taxes may also be required. Title and registration fees vary depending on length, use, type of boat and registration expiration. If you have questions, please contact the DNR at 888-646-6367.

Burn Permits

Can I activate a burn permit?

Yes. You may obtain and activate a burning permit online. Some Township Fire Wardens have resumed issuing burning permits at this time. If you would like to obtain a burning permit from your local Township Fire Warden, please call your local DNR Forestry Office for information on which wardens are active in your area. Seasonal burning restrictions have expired, but burning restrictions may return during summer months due to changing fire conditions. Check the burning restrictions page for current information before any burning.

Do I need a permit for a small recreational fire or a campfire?

Small recreational fires and campfires are allowed without a burning permit, except where restricted by the local unit of government or land manager.

Camping

Can I camp right now?

Yes, camping is allowed, but not all state park and recreation area campgrounds or campsites are open, and there may be limited services or amenities due to staffing or social distancing requirements.
On DNR-managed lands, three types of camping are available:

  • Dispersed camping is open in state forests. Minnesota state rules do not allow dispersed camping in state parks and recreation areas.
  • Remote camping is open in state parks and recreation areas. These are designated hike-in, cart-in or paddle-in campsites.
  • Developed campgrounds in state parks, recreation areas and forests are open.
  • For information about specific campsites or amenities, check the visitor alert for the state park, recreation area or forest you plan to visit. The most current information available will be on each location’s main web page.
What happens if I have a reservation for a campsite that isn’t open?

To avoid campground crowding, some campsites will need to remain closed for the season. If we need to cancel your reservation for any reason, your card will be refunded or you will receive an electronic gift card with a full refund. 

Are dump and fill stations open at campgrounds?

Yes, dump stations and fill stations reopened along with campgrounds.

Firearms Safety Training

How can my child or I complete firearms safety training?

The DNR has modified firearms safety certification requirements on an interim basis as a result of COVID-19. Both in-person classroom training and in-person field days are postponed until further notice. Students of all ages may take their classroom training online. Students age 14 and older may also complete a virtual field day instead of the traditional in-person field day by signing up for and completing the online hunter safety course. Students ages 12 and 13 who want to hunt this fall but are unable to complete their in-person field day are encouraged to use the apprentice hunter validation.

Fishing

Am I allowed to go fishing during the Stay Safe MN Order?

Yes. Getting outside for activities like fishing is healthy as long as you do so in a way that is safe for you and others. This includes fishing close to home and minding your social distancing at all times – in your vehicle, in your boat, and at the launch. You should maintain at least  six feet of separation from anyone who is not a member of your immediate household.

Do all fishing regulations apply or have they been relaxed because of the Stay Safe MN Order?

All 2020 fishing regulations need to be followed. No fishing regulations have been relaxed because of the Stay Safe MN Order.

How far can I travel to go fishing during the Stay Safe MN Order?

Consistent with state and federal guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect our neighbors, Minnesotans are discouraged by EO 20-56 from unnecessary travel. If travel is necessary to engage in fishing or other authorized outdoor recreation, the following will help you minimize potential points of virus transmission: 

  • Travel as directly to your destination as possible, and minimize stops along the way.
  • Attempt to bring all needed supplies with you.
  • If you do need to stop for gas or supplies, wear a cloth face covering
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching common surfaces (gas pumps, door handles, shared bathrooms, etc.).
  • Do not travel if sick.
Do I still need a fishing license during the Stay Safe MN Order?

Yes, all of the 2020 fishing license requirements still apply. You may purchase a license online or call 888-665-4236.

What are my options for purchasing a fishing license if I don’t want to go into a store?

You may purchase a license online or call 888-665-4236.

Can non-residents travel to Minnesota to fish?

The Stay Safe MN Order does not prevent travel in and out of the state. However, when in Minnesota, all visitors must comply with the order. Traveling long distances to Minnesota for the purpose of fishing is not in the spirit of the order.

Can I use the services of a fishing guide?

Yes, as long as the group size does not exceed a size that allows social distancing to be maintained throughout the activity and guides comply with all DNR/MDH outdoor recreational guidelines.

Can I buy bait?

Bait stores are allowed to be open to sell live bait. Bait stores may also sell other retail products, as long as they comply with all current retail operator requirements.

Hunting

Can I go hunting during the Stay Safe MN Order?

Yes. Hunting seasons will open as usual.

Do all hunting regulations apply or have they been relaxed because of the Stay Safe MN Order?

All 2020 hunting regulations must be followed.

As of July, the following pandemic-related changes have been made:

CWD sample submission for deer hunters is voluntary in areas affected by chronic wasting disease. Although voluntary, hunter participation continues to be critical for tracking disease activity and potential spread. Submitting samples for testing will be voluntary in all areas affected by chronic wasting disease and all CWD sampling stations will be self-service this year.

Youth special archery hunts at Camp Ripley and Lake Alexander Park Reserve have been canceled.

There is no longer a lottery for the Camp Ripley Archery Hunt. Permits will go on sale at noon Aug. 28 and must be purchased by Oct. 2. They may be purchased online, or wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

Further changes may be necessary. If so, we will update this information.

How far can I travel to go hunting during the Stay Safe MN Order?

Consistent with state and federal guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect our neighbors, Minnesotans are discouraged by EO 20-56 from unnecessary travel. If travel is necessary to engage in hunting or other authorized outdoor recreation, the following will help you minimize potential points of virus transmission: 

  • Travel as directly to your destination as possible, and minimize stops along the way.
  • Attempt to bring all needed supplies with you.
  • If you do need to stop for gas or supplies, wear a cloth face covering.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching common surfaces (gas pumps, door handles, shared bathrooms, etc.).
  • Do not travel if sick.
Do I still need a hunting license during the Stay Safe MN Order?

Yes, all 2020 hunting license requirements still apply. You may purchase a license online or call 888-665-4236.

What are my options for purchasing a hunting license if I don’t want to go into a store?

You may purchase a license online or call 888-665-4236

Can non-residents travel to Minnesota to hunt?

Minnesota’s Stay At Home Order does not prevent travel in and out of the state. However, when in Minnesota, all visitors must comply with the order. Traveling long distances to Minnesota for the purpose of hunting is not in the spirit of the order.

Programs and Meetings

Are DNR programs, events, trainings, and meetings canceled?

Many DNR-sponsored events, trainings, and meetings have been canceled, postponed, or transitioned to an online format. This includes:

  • Safety education training, including in-person firearms safety training (see firearms safety question above for details regarding online options)
  • Workshops and clinics, including Becoming an Outdoors Woman and Fishing in the Neighborhood
  • Fishery tours
  • Educational trainings, including Project Learning Tree, WET, and WILD trainings
  • Naturalist programs
  • Most volunteer activities

We will update this page, and our events calendar, as further changes are made, and will announce resumption of various programs when that occurs.

Are public meetings canceled?

While in-person public meetings have been canceled for now, public engagement on DNR issues and projects is a top priority. As such, the DNR is exploring a range of digital options to support public meetings and other critical engagement opportunities. Please check this page frequently for updates about how the DNR will accomplish this.

Public Accesses/Docks

Are public access docks available?

Yes. Almost all of the docks at public water access sites are in the water and useable. The Boomsite access dock on the St. Croix River and a few others will not be placed this summer due to lack of staff, equipment or replacement parts, but most docks are available. You can find locations of public water access sites on the Recreation Compass.

State Parks and Recreation Areas

What is open?

The following are CURRENTLY OPEN:

  • All state parks and recreation areas are open for day use.
  • Most overnight camping and lodging facilities are open. For more information see the Camping and Lodging Reopening page.
  • Some bathrooms and shower buildings. Vault and portable toilets are open at all parks.
  • Some ranger stations and nature stores, where safe social distance can be maintained or window service can be provided.
  • Playgrounds and some swimming beaches. For individual locations, check the park's visitor alert.
What is closed?

The following are CLOSED until further notice:

  • Some beaches and all pond pools. For individual locations, check the park's visitor alert.
  • Dine-in food services and some overnight lodging facilities with housekeeping services.
  • Visitor centers and trail centers.
  • Many ranger stations, nature stores and group centers.
  • Fire towers
  • Scheduled interpretive programs and group tours.
  • Some rentals and most loaner kits.
Can I make a new camping or lodging reservation?

Camping: Yes. Some campsites are not open due to social distancing or other requirements, and have been blocked in the reservation system. If a site is listed as available, you can reserve it.

Lodging: Yes. COVID-19 pandemic guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health recommend a 24-hour period between lodging stays by different households to allow for proper cleaning and enhance safety for staff and guests. To accomplish this, staff are manually adjusting current lodging reservations to build-in this 24-hour period between stays. Our reservation software is not able to do this automatically. To make a new lodging reservation, contact the reservations call center at 866-857-2757.

What do I need to know before I go to a park or recreation area?

Parks and recreation areas are like small cities that need staff to operate and maintain their infrastructure and provide services to day users and overnight guests. Many locations this year are seeing record numbers of guests, but have fewer people on staff than they normally would. For the best possible experience, please remember the Key Three:   

  1. Plan ahead. Make reservations and buy your permits in advance. This helps protect you, other visitors and staff by minimizing person-to-person contact. If you buy a vehicle permit online or over the phone, it will come in the mail. Until it arrives, just write down your confirmation number and leave it on your car's dashboard when you are in a park.
  2. Be prepared. Bring your own water, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, towels and toilet paper. Print maps at home from the website, or download the Avenza app and use geoPDF maps on your mobile device.
  3. Follow the rules. Follow federal, state and MDH/DNR guidelines. Observe cleaning protocols, follow directional signage and practice social distancing--even outdoors.
How can I get my discounted vehicle permit if the offices are closed?

If you qualify for a military discount, have a Federal Access Pass, or own a vehicle with a Minnesota-issued disability license plate or hang tag, you can still get your discounted vehicle permit. Contact Gooseberry Falls State Park for more information:
Gooseberry Falls State Park
3206 Highway 61 East
Two Harbors, MN 55616
218-595-7100
[email protected]

How can I purchase a Hiking Club or Passport Club kit if the nature stores are closed?

Contact Gooseberry Falls State Park at 218-595-7100 to purchase a Hiking Club or Passport Club kit over the phone. It will be mailed out to you.

Will the Aquatic Geocaching series be extended?

Yes. The new deadline for the Aquatic Geocaching Quest is October 31, 2021.

Trails

What trails are open?

ATV trails, state trails, horse trails and trails within state parks, recreation areas and forests are open. Individual trails may have localized closures due to construction or other conditions – check your location’s web page for current closures before you head out.

Many trails can get very busy in nice weather and on weekends. If you see a lot of cars in the parking lot or at the trailhead, please consider finding someplace else for outdoor recreation. Visitors should practice safe social distancing even when outside.


Other questions

If this page does not answer your questions, please check the outdoor recreation guidelines. You may also email the DNR’s Information Center or call 888-646-6367.