Media Clips

DNR kiosks are trying to bring outdoor info to heart of the metro

Published on August 12, 2010 under News & Events

The goal is to go where young families and other new users are and get them in state lakes and parks.

By DOUG SMITH, Star Tribune
August 24, 2010

In an attempt to entice more people, especially young families, into the great outdoors, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is placing interactive electronic kiosks at high-traffic areas around the Twin Cities metro area to provide information on parks, trails, camping and water access.

“We’re trying to reach out and encourage new parks and trail users and reengage old users,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten. “People have said for years that government needs to act more like a business, and we’re starting to do that. We’re not just sitting back and expecting people to come to us. We’re going to them.”

The first of six kiosks — shaped like the state of Minnesota with cedar and rock — has been placed in the IDS Center Crystal Court in downtown Minneapolis. Others will go at the Minnesota Zoo and the State Fair. Others possibly will go to high-traffic areas like shopping malls and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The kiosks cost around $3,000 apiece, which was paid for by Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment dollars set aside specifically for park use.

“We want them any place where there are a lot of young families, because that is what’s underrepresented right now in Minnesota’s state parks and trails,” said Amy Barrett, a DNR information officer. “If they’re not going to come to our website, we’re going to bring our website to them.

“Hopefully the beautiful rotating shots of waterfalls and other scenery will stop people in their tracks and make them ask, ‘Where’s that? I want to go there.'”

Said Holsten:

“They can find bike trails, snowmobile trails, cross-country ski trails, canoe paths, different park activities and what’s available for camping.”

The kiosks will have limited fishing information, including the location of fishing piers and boat accesses, but won’t have hunting information, Holsten said. The kiosk at the State Fair will be moved to other high-traffic events throughout the year, such as sports shows.