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Minnesota state parks and recreation areas offer new benefits for veterans

Note: as of July 31, I am back in my old office at the Wadena County courthouse (415 Jefferson Street South). My old office is located in the basement at the bottom of the stairs to the right. I will have my sign back on the door my phone number will remain the same (218) 631-7617.

Active military personnel in any branch or unit of the United States Armed Forces and veterans with a service-related disability are now eligible to receive a free year-round vehicle permit, providing unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.

These new benefits were proposed by the Department of Natural Resources and approved by state lawmakers during the 2017 Minnesota legislative session (Minnesota Statutes, section 85.053, subdivisions 8 and 10).

"We are grateful to the men and women who have served in the military," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "Providing free access to Minnesota state parks is just one way to thank them for their service and sacrifice."

To see all of the licenses, permits and passes that are available to military personnel and veterans, and the form of identification that an individual needs to show, visit

The DNR is recognized as a Yellow Ribbon Company for its support of active and retired military personnel and their families.

"We invite active military personnel and veterans with a service-related disability to come get their free permit" said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. "Minnesota state parks and recreation areas offer a firework-free environment for those who want peace and quiet."

A list of especially quiet getaways is included in the summer guide on the Parks and Trails website.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at, (651) 296-6157 or (888) 646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday). [Source MNDNR website June 26]

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at and as always have a great week.