ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeing a growing number of people hanging out at parks and trails across the state.
Over the weekend, White Water State Park saw over 2,000 cars. Kim Pleticha with the Minnesota DNR said that's more people than they see on the Fourth of July. She said park naturalists are going out and reminding people to stay at least 6 feet from each other. That's especially important as more people are out on the trails. DNR officials say it's great seeing more people out and about, but some are gathering in the parking lots, thinking because they're in open air, they don't need to keep their distance. "We're so happy to see people who have not typically used our trails now using them," Pleticha said. "So it's wonderful we're getting a lot of new users. Again, we would just ask that people really adhere to social distancing."
Pleticha explained park naturalists aren't going to be patrolling the parks, citing you if you're there with others. But again, they do ask that you follow the social distancing guidelines as much as possible. Pleticha really wants to emphasize that this in fact is a stay at home order. She asks that you don't travel too far from home. "We have to use our good judgement and our common sense in determining how close close to home is," explained Pleticha. "But certainly, don't drive for long distances to recreate."
Pleticha said if you get to a park and see the parking lot full, turn around and go somewhere else. She explained you'll have a better experience while ultimately keeping you and others safe. You're also encouraged to avoid shared spaces like park benches and picnic tables.