News release: Flooding prompts closure of some DNR roads, trails, state forest campgrounds, as well as Fort Snelling State Park

June 21, 2024

Minnesota DNR urges caution and a safety-first mentality during outdoor activities

Due to recent heavy rains causing unsafe conditions, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources cautions visitors throughout the state to watch for flooding and damage to roads and trails. Because of flooding, Fort Snelling State Park will close to the public starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, as water from the rising Mississippi and Minnesota rivers is expected to flood the main park road and all the parking lots, creating unsafe conditions.

Closures affect Fort Snelling State Park, Soudan Underground Mine, trails and campgrounds

Fort Snelling State Park will remain closed until flood waters recede and the DNR is able to assess the conditions of facilities and amenities and address any flood-related cleanup and repairs.

“The safety of our park visitors and staff is DNR’s number one priority,” said Ann Pierce, director of the Minnesota DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “We know Minnesotans value state parks and the recreation opportunities they provide, and we will reopen the park as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

While Fort Snelling State Park is currently the only state park to close completely due to flooding, DNR has also closed some trails, roads and amenities in other state parks, forests, wildlife management areas and aquatic management areas. There are trail closures at state parks throughout the state and in state forests in northeast Minnesota, as well as state forest campground closures. Underground mine tours at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park are also suspended due to water intrusion in the mine. Surface tours at the Soudan Mine will resume on Saturday, June 22. Bison tours at Blue Mounds State Park have also been canceled for June 22-23 due to flooding in the park.

DNR forest roads

Flooding has particularly affected forest roads in the northeastern part of the state, but with more rain in the forecast, additional areas could see impacts over the coming days.

“Multiple areas of the northeast were impacted by this week’s heavy rains,” said Matt Huseby, roads coordinator for the DNR’s Forestry Division. “Staff are working to assess flooded roads, washouts and culvert failures. Please use caution, do not drive on closed roads and avoid any dangerous conditions you observe.”

Use caution when recreating around high water

Anglers, boaters, and anyone who recreates on or near areas where recent rainfall has raised water levels should exercise extreme caution – or avoid these areas altogether until the water recedes. Rivers in several parts of the state are running extremely high and fast, and conservation officers recommend people stay off those areas until water levels drop.

In addition to inundating riverbanks, the recent rainfall has downed trees and swept natural and man-made objects into the water, creating hazards for boaters, swimmers and others. High water also can cover obstructions such as concrete pilings that boaters might not see until it’s too late.

“The amount of water flowing through many river systems right now means the current is fast, strong and unpredictable, which can be problematic even for experienced boaters, paddlers and swimmers,” said Capt. Adam Block, DNR boating law administrator. “People should avoid places where there’s a high-water alert and keep in mind that wearing a life jacket provides the best chance of surviving a fall into dangerous water.”

In addition, people should tell someone where they will be and when they plan to return.

Plan ahead and stay safe

Before traveling, visitors should check out the DNR’s closures webpage for information on public lands, roads, trails, and waters. You can access individual state park and state forest pages via that webpage for visitor alerts on flooding impacts in specific locations.  Even if roads and trails are listed as open, visitors should proceed with caution as not all areas have been assessed, conditions can change rapidly and conditions might vary within a given area. Visitors are encouraged to report unsafe conditions to DNR staff to ensure dangerous areas are identified and closed as quickly as possible.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t travel on flooded roads. Hazards can be hidden under floodwater.
  • Obey road and trail closures and signs. Don’t drive around barricades.
  • Report unsafe state forest road conditions to the local area DNR Forestry office. Unsafe state trail conditions should be reported to the area Parks and Trails office. Contact information for both can be found on the DNR website.
  • Report conditions in state parks directly to the park. Contact information for individual state park websites can be found on the DNR website.

The flooding situation in Minnesota is dynamic and expected to continue to evolve. Minnesota DNR will continue to provide updates as needed.  

Back to top