ROCHESTER, Minn. - According to Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources, over 4% more people visited state parks in 2017 compared to 2016.
The department noted the added campgrounds, trails, park benefits for veterans, and expanded information hours as helping people take advantage of the outdoors.
Staff at the Quarry Hill Nature Center in Rochester said they're seeing this trend in their nature center and don't see it stopping anytime soon.
"There is a growing trend, it is a wave or momentum where families are realizing the importance of making sure their kids get outside, getting away from the screen time. That developmentally and for your overall health, that's really important," Pam Meyer, Director of the Quarry Hill Nature Center, said.
She also said they've had more people call and ask different ways they can utilize the park and be outside.
Even in these sub-zero temperatures people took to the center to go on family hikes and do some skiing. Meyer said people shouldn't let the cold stop them from being outside, the key to enjoying the outdoors in winter is being prepared with layered clothing.
But all layering isn't created equal.
"Something that's maybe wool or polypropylene. The number one material you want to stay away from is cotton. Cotton keeps moisture next to your body which will actually cool you down rapidly," Meyer said.
She also said it's important to have extremities like fingers and the head covered since they are further away from the body's core. This coverage is important for not only outdoor activitities but even for just a trip to the office or store.
"Things can happen...one of our staff members, his wife got two flat tires yesterday. I saw a car accident where thankfully the car can still run for heat," she said. "At least having the equipment with you in a vehicle is a good idea."
Quarry Hill Nature Center staff also said it's important to remember sunscreen for the reflective snow and to stay hydrated, which will also keep a person warmer.