Northern Wilds Magazine
Photo by Lisa Christenson.

New guidelines for outdoor recreation during COVID-19

The DNR and Minnesota Department of Health collaborated to create new outdoor recreation guidelines for use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These guidelines apply to both recreational facilities and the public and are based on Governor Walz’s Emergency Executive Order Allowing for Safe Outdoor Recreation (EO 20-38).

Following these guidelines will help protect you and your fellow Minnesotans from this health threat. You can enjoy the outdoors while doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some guidelines you should observe whenever you’re outdoors:

  • Practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet from people from other households). This isn’t just for parks and trails – it is also essential at boat launches, fishing piers, and hunting lands, and anytime you leave your home.
  • Stay as close to home as possible. This is not the time to be traveling long distances to recreate. Cherished outdoor traditions further from home will be there for you later, after the public health situation has eased.
  • Do not host or attend gatherings with people who aren’t members of your immediate household. This includes gatherings like outdoor cookouts or barbecues, because those types of gatherings could spread COVID-19.
  • Explore the range of nearby public lands available to you. If you arrive at a park, water access site, or other public recreation land and see that it is busy, choose a different option. This will allow you to maintain social distancing, and reduce impacts on staff and resources. Also, consider visiting at off-peak times, typically early or late in the day.
  • Do not carpool to outdoor recreational activities with people other than those in your immediate household. Similarly, do not share equipment.

Know before you go
Get the latest information about what DNR-managed facilities are open on the COVID-19 webpage.

Contact the DNR Information Center by phone at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367), or by email at

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