What It All Boils Down To

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parks and rec


Spring Banner

March 2020

Taste The Sweetness of Spring

Kids and Kao checking out the sap

Our naturalists demonstrate how to make maple syrup

What It All Boils Down To

Cool nights and warmer days of spring mean sap is flowing and it's time to make maple syrup. Throughout Minnesota, Ojibwe and Dakota communities have been making maple sugar and syrup for generations. Many within these communities consider maple trees sacred as they provide life-giving food that once sustained the early people of this land during harsh winters.

Spring also means wildflowers will start popping everywhere. Like the wildflower pictured on this year's Minnesota state park permit: Learn all about Bloodroot in the latest issue of the MCV magazine and visit Kilen Woods State Park to see it for yourself.

We love getting your stories and photos—keep 'em coming!

Sugar shack machines

Inside the sugar shack at Maplewood State Park

Our state trails icon

Kilen Woods State Park

Kilen Woods

The Des Moines River cuts through 100 feet of rock, sand gravel known as glacial drift. 

Hike the cool woodland trail meandering along the tranquil Des Moines River, or enjoy the view of the river valley from Dinosaur Ridge Overlook. Explore trails that wind through the park's oak forest, sunny river bottom meadows, flood plain forest, oak savanna and prairie. Plan your visit.

Out and about icon

The faces and stories of our visitors and staff.

Paige Berndt

Hometown: Shakopee, MN
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Started snowmobiling on her family property when she was only 2!  She's now in her senior year and is not planning on stopping any time soon. When she can't ride her sled on a frozen lake, Paige likes to go stand-up paddleboarding or volunteer for trail clean-ups.

Fuel for the Trail: Hot chocolate, water, and sweets.
Claim to Fame: Recipient of the 2017 Minnesota Youth Snowmobiler Award for her leadership in youth snowmobiling initiatives.

Paige Berndt

Tips graphic

Take a Walk On the Wild Side

All you need are shoes and the desire to see something new in a tranquil and beautiful place

Research shows people are more likely to walk when they feel safe from crime and hazards.  Walking in groups with friends, neighbors and family members can be a great motivator to getting outside and walking on a regular basis.

The MN Rovers Outdoors Club meets regularly to explore parks throughout Minnesota and beyond.  The group is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1954, and is one of the oldest, most active outing clubs in the Upper Midwest. The MN Rovers has hundreds of members and they meet year-round.

hikers in woods

Safety Header

Freezing and Thawing = Slippery Conditions

ice cleats

Wear boots with a deep tread and use ice-gripping products that fit over footwear, such as the ones pictured here.

If the trail is slippery...

  • Keep your head up and look down with eyes only.
  • Keep shoulders over ankles. Don’t hunch over.
  • Take half steps.
  • Walk flat-footed, not heel-to-toe.

How-to icon

A Night at the Park

Black Bear Guest House at LaSalle State Recreation Area

Black Bear Guest House at LaSalle Lake State Recreation Area

Want to spend the night at the park but camping isn't your thing? We have options for you. Stay at the historic Douglas Lodge or guesthouses in Itasca State Park or the newly added Bert's Cabins. Book a yurt at Afton State Park, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, or Glendalough State Park. Camper cabins are available at over two dozen state parks and recreation areas, including Big Bog, Lake Shetek, Lake Lasalle, and Myre-Big Island. Visit our website and take your pick.

Bert's Cabins

Bert's Cabins at Itasca State Park

From the MCV icon

Blink and You’ll Miss It

The Bloodroot plant is the star of the 2020 Minnesota state park permit sticker. The perennial blooms for only a few days in March through May, depending on the location, making it a favorite of wildflower hounds. Full story.

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer is a print magazine dedicated to Minnesota’s wild places and creatures. For more stories, visit mnDNR.gov/MCV or subscribe.



Discover icon

From Sap to Table

Come tap a maple tree, boil sap and taste the syrup at one of the many syruping programs that have become a Spring tradition.

Other highlights of this month's programming include a Fat Bike Rally Chair Lacing, and Music and Poetry in the Parks.

Some events require pre-registration. All events are subject to cancellation. Visit our calendar of events page for the most up-to-date information