The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has closed significant areas of Fort Snelling State Park due to flooding. The park—one of Minnesota’s busiest, and a popular local destination for hikers, bikers, and birders—is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, which are both experiencing rising waters from the spring thaw.
Most facilities within the park are closed and key park locations, including Picnic Island and Pike Island, are not accessible. Various trails are underwater and the main park road is currently closed just past the beach, limiting parking options and access to the park. As with all state parks, accessible portions of Fort Snelling State Park remain open for day use during Gov. Tim Walz’s Stay at Home order.
“We know how eager folks are to get outside and do their social distancing in nature now that spring has finally arrived, so reducing access in response to seasonal flooding is particularly difficult this year,” said Fort Snelling State Park manager Nadine Meyer. “But our first priority is ensuring the safety of the public and our staff, so these are steps we have to take.”
Other recreational facilities around the state also have been impacted by melting snow, heavy rain and flooding. Some roads and trails in state forests, state parks, recreation areas, and wildlife management areas will be closed temporarily because they are not firm enough to support vehicle traffic without causing damage.
Some spring flooding- and thaw-related closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions. People should check the DNR’s closure webpage for current conditions before visiting.
During the Stay at Home order, visitors to state parks and other public recreation lands are urged to:
- Stay as close to home as possible.
- Practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet from people from other households).
- Explore the range of nearby public lands available to avoid over-loading busy areas.
- Visit early or late in the day, when there are fewer people.
- Adjust your plans if you arrive and your destination is crowded.
- Obey all “no parking” signs and other directions.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Stay home if sick.