Minnesota’s state parks see higher attendance amid pandemic

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 5:42 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — With the cancellation of most of our favorite celebrations, many Minnesotans have been searching for different ways to keep busy during this unprecedented summer.

Minnesota’s 66 state parks have been a beneficiary of the pandemic as more residents flock to them.

”People are looking for an alternative and getting out of the house and coming over,” said Minneopa Area Naturalist Scott Kudelka. “At Minneopa we are blessed. Not only do we have the double waterfalls, but we also have a bison herd, lots of trails to hike and really just a beautiful place whether you want to come here and picnic or maybe start here riding your bike from somewhere else.”

So, what exactly have recent weekends looked like at Minneopa State Park?

”What we are seeing, typically, on a good Saturday or Sunday is what normally we would see on the 4th of July,” said Kudelka.

That’s about 1,000 to 1,500 cars rolling through the gates every weekend. With that many people exploring the parks and discovering new areas, Kudelka recommends planning ahead.

”Think about coming out during the week. Or maybe not Saturday afternoon, but Saturday morning. Try the park at a different time and then you probably aren’t going to see the crowds and you’re going to be able to really enjoy it a little bit better.”

Park attendance across the state has steadily increased in past years, but has exploded in 2020.

Kudelka says he’s confident the park will maintain its high numbers.

”People have really discovered Minneopa again.”

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