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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

MN gets rolling on outdoor recreation investments

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Friday, January 26, 2024   

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources this month is outlining how it plans to use $150 million to make upgrades to its outdoor-recreation system.

In the current two-year state budget, the department was given the one-time sum to bolster infrastructure and add amenities at state parks and other sites. While Minnesota is known for its recreational opportunities, Parks and Trails Director Ann Pierce said it's become clear the system is showing signs of age, and improvements are much needed.

"This is really an opportunity for us to have a shot of investment that will allow us to modernize a portion of these facilities," she said, "and really show what modern experiences can look like."

She said $15 million will go toward accessibility improvements, with another $2 million for updated signage that all users can understand. At Minneopa State Park, the department will test out modernized campsites, with more options for use of electricity and outdoor kitchens.

In a recent state park visitor survey, respondents told the department that improved access for people with special needs and expanded programming for first-time visitors were among their priorities.

Upgrades also are being planned at public water sites to make it easier for everyone to navigate boat launches, and Pierce said they want to create more opportunities for fishing "if it makes sense to put in shore fishing there, for those that may not have a boat at all.

"And also," she said, "we'll be working with fisheries to work on some of the piers that actually are located at public water-access sites and make sure that we can upgrade those."

The department said it has a goal to develop a state-of-the-art hatchery system that prioritizes safe and bio-secure water supplies with increased fish production. Pierce said there will be visible signs this year of some upgrades getting underway, with other plans still in the development phase.


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