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Ski passes required for cross-country ski trails (11/09/2005)
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds cross-country skiers before they hit the ski trails this winter they need to purchase a ski pass, and carry it with them while skiing. The passes are required on all Grant-in-Aid and state-operated cross-country ski trails, including trails in state parks and state forests.

DNR cross-country ski pass coordinator Paul Nordell said the sale of the ski passes is what funds the Grant-in-Aid program for ski trails. That money is used to maintain the more than 1,600 miles of designated cross-country ski trails throughout Minnesota. It also enables the DNR to work with local units of government and clubs to expand the trail system.

"Half of all the money spent on cross-country ski trails is for pre-season maintenance," Nordell said. "Before the first snowflake falls, crews are out removing trees and other debris blocking the trails."

Ski passes cost $5 for the daily, $15 for the annual, and $40 for the three-year pass. Even though Minnesota winters have been short on snow the past few years, Nordell encourages those who enjoy the sport to buy their passes.

"The pass does more than give you the opportunity to ski," Nordell explained. "It is an investment in the sport. It helps support the trail system statewide, and maintains trails at the level skiers have come to expect. So even during low snow years, skiers are preserving the future of their sport."

The State Legislature established the ski pass in 1983. The law requires skiers 16 years of age and older to have a valid Minnesota ski trail pass with them at all times while on a designated trail. DNR Enforcement Chief Mike Hamm said the Enforcement Division will once again have an enforcement presence on the ski trails this year.

"Anyone caught without a pass may be ticketed," said Hamm. "And the ticket will cost the same as if a skier bought a three-year pass. So, it would be cheaper to buy the pass ahead of time." In addition to paying the fine, violators would still be required to purchase a daily, annual or three-year ski pass.

Passes may be purchased at any one of 1,800 electronic licensing agents throughout Minnesota, and at most state parks that have ski trails. Annual and three-year passes may also be bought online at www.dnr.state.mn.us, by calling 1-888-665-4236; or by mail, DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 26, St. Paul, MN 55155. Passes ordered by mail require approximately two-weeks for delivery. A $3.50 convenience fee will be added to the sale of passes sold over the Internet.

Cross-country ski trail information for the state of Minnesota - trail locations, maps and conditions - is available on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/skiing/index.html.



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