News release: DNR shares tips for celebrating the Fourth of July on state lands

June 24, 2024

Minnesota state lands are great places to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. In addition to an abundance of recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, birdwatching, camping and more; state parks, recreation areas and forests offer a quiet location to celebrate Independence Day away from loud fireworks displays. Minnesota rules prohibit the use of fireworks in state parks, recreation areas and forests.

“Not everyone enjoys the light and sound associated with fireworks,” said Ann Pierce, DNR Parks and Trails Division director. “Minnesota state parks, recreation areas and forests offer a fireworks-free environment for those who want to celebrate Independence Day in a more peaceful place.”

While recent rains and associated flooding have impacted trails, roads, water accesses and camping at numerous locations, many of the state’s public lands are still open for recreational activities. The Recreation Compass is a convenient resource to find state, federal and some local public recreation lands. Before heading out to celebrate Independence Day at a state park, recreation area, forest or trail, visitors are encouraged to check conditions via the DNR website. People should exercise caution if they encounter high water when traveling to or visiting a site. Do not attempt to use trails and roadways that are underwater, and check river levels on the DNR website to learn if a water trail is safe for paddling.

While there is no vehicle permit requirement for state forests, wildlife management areas or scientific and natural areas, visitors to state parks and recreation areas must obtain a one-day or year-round vehicle permit. Vehicle permits can be purchased online, at any open state park ranger station (not every ranger station is staffed seven days a week), or at the DNR License center in St. Paul during business hours.

Camping opportunities are still available for those who would like to extend their visit with an overnight stay. As of 10 a.m. on June 24, 20% of camping reservations in state parks and recreation areas are open for the night of Thursday, July 4, and 14% of reservations are available for three-night stays starting on July 4. Reservations can be made at

Campers wishing to make a last-minute trip without a reservation may want to consider a state forest campground, where camping is always available on a first come, first served basis. Find state forest campgrounds at the camping in Minnesota state forests webpage of the DNR website. Three of the 42 state forest campgrounds – Eckbeck, Indian Lake and Sullivan Lake – are closed due to flooding, but the remainder of state forest campgrounds remain open.

Visitors to DNR-managed public lands and facilities over Independence Day and the rest of the summer will start to see a number of improvements taking place thanks to the $150 million Get Out MORE (Modernize Outdoor Recreation Experiences) initiative. This transformative, one-time investment will modernize decades-old facilities, enhance accessibility, provide more-welcoming visitor experiences, and improve climate resilience and aquatic habitat at hundreds of DNR-managed sites across the state. 

“Many Minnesotans head to state parks, forests, lakes and rivers to celebrate with friends and family on summer holidays,” said Sarah Strommen, commissioner of the DNR. “That makes this the perfect time to highlight ways the historic Get Out MORE investment will provide people with outstanding outdoor recreation experiences in our state for years to come.” To learn more about how this investment will improve outdoor experiences across Minnesota, go to the Get Out MORE webpage of the DNR website.

Wherever and however people choose to enjoy Minnesota’s outstanding public lands and waters, the DNR encourages all people recreating outdoors to keep safety in mind as they celebrate Independence Day.

  • Pack smart. Be sure to bring sunscreen, insect repellant, a first aid kit and plenty of water.
  • Be BearWise. The presence of a bear in the area is not a threat to safety, but having a bear in camp can lead to problems. See for tips to avoid an unwanted bear encounter.
  • Fun boating is safe boating. Wear a life jacket, and make sure children wear theirs. For more boating safety tips, check out
  • Practice campfire safety. Build campfire in a fire ring if available, always supervise the fire, and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving or going to sleep. Find more campfire safety tips at
  • Be aware of the weather forecast. 

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