Program Attendance

Performance Area: Outdoor Recreation

Number of participants in state park and trail interpretive and skill-building programs

Why Is This Important?

High-quality recreation and interpretive opportunities are key to natural and cultural resource conservation and healthy living. Participation in traditional outdoor recreation is declining, and park visitors are older and less diverse than the population of Minnesota. Attracting new visitors and introducing under-served audiences to the state’s natural, cultural and recreational resources are key to maintaining relevance with the changing population. New, targeted strategies are needed to build upon existing, successful programming and provide experiences that help reconnect families with nature and get them outdoors and active.

What Is DNR Doing?

Minnesota State Parks and Trails staff are presenting programs that appeal to families with children and developing opportunities that will be more inclusive of the diverse population of Minnesota. Interpretive programs are designed to spark curiosity, provoke wonder, reveal hidden stories, inspire stewardship and build lasting memories in the outdoors. New programs are developed to build on the success of core, traditional programs and to follow new trends. A variety of programs and activities are offered that appeal to park visitors, such as: candlelight events, selfie scavenger hunts, live reptile programs, citizen science, geocaching and cave tours. The Parks and Trails Division developed and promoted I Can! skill-building programs based on research that identified barriers and motivations to getting the next generation of Minnesotans outdoors. The I Can! program has expanded in recent years to offer more programs and to include new outdoor recreation trends, such as mountain biking and kayaking.

Target: Provide 8,300 interpretive and skill-building programs for 240,000 participants in 2019.