Public Water Access to Lakes and Rivers

Performance Area: Outdoor Recreation

Number of public water access sites improved or maintained with best management practices


Why Is This Important?

Minnesota ranks second in the nation in number of licensed boats (810,000 in 2018) and first in boats per capita, with one boat for every six people. All types of boaters, plus anglers, lake shore owners, and resort guests create demand for professionally developed facilities. The DNR provides and maintains a statewide system of free water access facilities which give the public the means to enter and enjoy the state‚Äôs lakes and rivers. The system includes 1,650 trailer and carry-in access sites, 35 state water trails, and ten safe harbors on Lake Superior. The DNR is continuously improving water access site design to develop sustainable sites that meet or exceed current American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and focus on best management practices for storm water management, healthy shorelines, and aquatic invasive species prevention.


What Is DNR Doing?

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Belle Lake Water Access Stormwater BMP - bioinfiltration basin (raingarden)   Image 1 of 1 (use left/right arrows to navigate previous/next)

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The DNR is focusing efforts on maintaining and improving the system of water access facilities to ensure a safe and positive experience for each user. All sites being developed or redeveloped are upgraded to current ADA design standards, plus boat clean and drain areas are added that help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Sites are redeveloped with best management practices to minimize the effects of storm water runoff and erosion, to buffer shoreline areas, and to use native vegetation. Funding is currently inadequate to meet statewide rehabilitation needs.


Target: Redevelop 6 to 12 existing access sites and develop 1 previously acquired access site with best management practices each year in FY 2019 and 2020.

The target of improving 6 to 12 existing access sites and 1 acquired access site is realistic for current funding levels. A target of 25 sites per year would better meet user expectations for well designed and developed sites.