The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will step up ski pass enforcement efforts on Grant and Aid cross-country trails across the state this winter.
"All cross-country skiers on public ski trails who are aged 16 and above must have a valid Minnesota Ski Pass," said DNR Chief Conservation Officer Mike Hamm. "You must sign your ski pass and carry it with you when skiing. Your ski pass fee helps support Minnesota's nearly 18-hundred mile designated cross-country ski trail system."
The ski pass, established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1983, provides funds for the development, maintenance and grooming of public ski trails. A daily ski pass costs $3. The yearly individual ski pass costs $10. However, officials with the Minnesota Nordic Ski Association (MNSA) recently approached the DNR to increase cross-country ski pass enforcement after lagging sales.
"MNSA is concerned the Grant & Aid program for ski trails will cease to exist unless there is an increase in the number of ski passes sold to users," Hamm said. "They feel most users are aware of the requirement to have a ski pass, but have chosen to ignore the requirement since there has been limited enforcement action taken for skiers without passes." He noted high use cross-country trails would be targeted.
The DNR has placed signs that designate trail systems where a ski pass is required. Violators can be fined up to $300.
"Cross-country skiing is a great winter activity, especially when there is lots of snow on the ground," Hamm said. "So, we hope cross-country skiers will help local clubs and organizations maintain and groom trail systems by purchasing a ski pass.