Thirty percent of campsites at Minnesota state parks available

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 at 9:27 am

As the Memorial Day Weekend approaches, there are still plenty of state park camping opportunities available, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Up to 30 percent of the state’s campsites can’t be reserved, making them available to campers on a first-come, first-served basis.

“To increase chances of getting a non-reservable campsite on a holiday weekend, campers should arrive at the park Thursday night or early Friday morning, because most of the sites will be gone by Friday afternoon,” said Chuck Kartak, assistant director for the state parks system.

“The next best chance to get a campsite would be on Sunday, because some weekend visitors only stay through Saturday. Campers may call the state parks in advance to find out how many campsites are expected to be open on any given day.”

Of reservable overnight accommodations at Minnesota state parks – including campsites, camper cabins and lodging – 90 percent of the spots are taken for Memorial Day weekend.

Some state parks, mostly in northwestern Minnesota, are still taking reservations. Five state parks with at least 15 reservable campsites remaining include:

* Lake Bronson and Old Mill state parks up in the northwestern corner of the state, where visitors may see a moose or the Northern Lights;
* Zippel Bay State Park with its beautiful white-sand beach on Lake of the Woods;
* Red River State Recreation Area, where visitors can combine fishing and biking with shopping and dining in the urban setting of East Grand Forks;

* Scenic State Park, which offers a Boundary Waters style setting for canoeing, without the portaging.

Anyone unable to spend the night may spend the day hiking, biking, paddling or geocaching. A daily permit will provide a vehicle full of family and friends with a whole day of fun for just $5. Annual permits, which cost $25, provide unlimited access to Minnesota state parks for a full year from the month of purchase.

For details on Minnesota’s state parks, including descriptions of each park’s scenery, wildlife and recreational opportunities, call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157,
888-MINNDNR (646-6367) or visit mnstateparks.info.

To make camping or lodging reservations, call 1-866-85PARKS or 1-866-857-2757 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, or visit stayatmnparks.com

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