Despite pleas for Minnesotans to carry out their outdoor activities close to home, the DNR is reporting an "influx" of visitors from the Twin Cities to state parks on the North Shore.
In weekly updates provided by DNR conservation officers in the Northland, several make reference to parks being extremely busy over the past week, as drivers descend on the North Shore, many of whom entering state parks without permits.
One of the officers, Thomas Wahlstrom based in Grand Marais, noted: "A large influx of people from the Twin Cities and surrounding area flooded the state parks over the weekend. Very few people decided to buy a park pass."
Two Harbors-based CO Don Murray also said encountered "large numbers of travelers from far and wide" across the North Shore over the weekend," while Hovland's Mary Manning said the majority of visitors to the North Shore "are still from well outside the area."
Minnesota's state park system remains open during the Stay at Home shutdown, with "day use only" in place as camping and overnight lodging is banned.
Nonetheless, Silver Bay-based conservation officer David Schottenbauer said that local state parks remained "very busy with several vehicle pass and illegal-camping violations noted."
This was also reported by Tofte-based CO Kylan Hill, who said: "A few people were also contacted for camping violations. Even though they saw the signs stating the campgrounds were closed, they took the risk and ultimately received citations."
Concerns have been raised that visitors could bring more cases of the coronavirus to residents in parts of the state without the same level of healthcare capacity as more populated parts of the state.
Similar issues have been noted in the Twin Cities too, with Gov. Tim Walz having asked people to keep their distance following a large numbers of visitors to parks around the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, with the Parks Board asking residents to stick to less popular parks closer to their homes.