‘Preserving Pristine Places' is the theme for Minnesota state parks in 2007. To illustrate this, three state parks - Cascade River, Judge C.R. Magney and Temperance River - are featured on the new annual vehicle permit available to the public beginning Jan. 1.
According to Courtland Nelson, director of the Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation, the annual permit offers an unlimited number of visits to all 72 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for a full year fro m the month of purchase.
"Each year the artwork or photo on the permit highlights a different state park," said Nelson. "For 2007, we want to emphasize the importance and value of preserving significant natural resource. There is probably no better way to illustrate this than to showcase three North Shore parks - Cascade River, Judge C. R. Magney and Temperance River - the parks that are featured on the 2007 Minnesota state park annual permit."
"While each park possesses unique qualities," Nelson added, "the common features they share are those treasured by Minnesotans: cascading waterfalls, deep coniferous forests and rugged Lake Superior shoreline. Another feature they have in common is that all three parks are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year."
There are eight state parks that stretch along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Often referred to as the jewels or gems of the state park system, these parks draw nearly two million visitors annually or a quarter of the more than 8 million people who visit Minnesota state parks each year. Surprisingly, although the state park system began in 1891 with the establishment of Itasca as the first state park, it wasn't until the late 1930s that legislation was introduced to preserve the first if the North Shore "jewels" - Gooseberry Falls State Park. Other parks along the shore were added in the 40s and 50s with the latest additions occurring in 1979 with the establishment of Tettegouche State Park and Grand Portage State Park in 1989.
The cost for the 2007 State park annual vehicle permit is $25. People are the registered owner of two vehicles, you can purchase second vehicle permit at a discounted price of $18. A special permit for Minnesota's residents with physical disabilities is $12.
New this year is an annual vehicle pass for motorcycle owners. Unlike the regular annual permit that must be affixed to the right-hand, inside corner of the vehicle windshield, the motorcycle permit has been produced as a wallet card that can be carried by the vehicle owner. The cost of the motorcycle annual permit is $20.
The annual permit can be purchased at REI Outdoor Recreation stores in the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Bookstore, any state park and the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul. Permits can also be ordered by phone from the DNR Information Center by calling (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367). Parks are open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Funds from the sale of permits are used to help maintain park facilities and manage natural resources.