Minnesota DNR Proposes Fee Increases to Legislature
UNDATED -- It could cost you more to go fishing, hunting or visit a state park next year. The Minnesota DNR is looking to raise deer-hunting license fees, fishing license fees, state park permit fees among several other cost increases, to help maintain all of its amenities.
For a resident deer hunting license the fee would increase from $30 to $34, for a fishing license it would increase from $22 to $25 and state park permit fees go from $5 for a daily pass to $6. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr says to keep all the amenities offered at state parks, fees will need to go up.
"If we just stay at the current level of funding at the state parks system, we are looking at 34 state parks where we would have to eliminate camping, just not allow camping there, not have the facilities open, sanitation facilities and bathrooms open. Essentially you'd be able to drive in and hike but there would be no staffing there, no facilities there. Almost half of the system will kind of be moth balled because we wouldn't have enough money to take care of the ones we have left."
Snowmobile registration, ATV registration and boat registration fees are also proposed to increase next year.
For ATV's the the increase would be $5 per year, bringing three year registration to $60, boat increases would range between $2 and $60 depending on the length of your boat and snowmobile fees would increase $10 a year bringing the three year registration from $75 to $105.
Landwehr says funding would be reduced for Grant in Aid grants if fees aren't increased. One of the primary services provided by the GIA program helps give funding to local clubs to maintain grooming snowmobile trails.
"The way the Grant in Aid program works is, we get the revenue in, we give it to the clubs, we give it to them in advance because they need it to buy equipment, get their equipment up to speed and be ready to go when the snow comes. So the expenses don't necessarily diminish from the department, it maybe diminishes from the club stand point but they still get those dollars."
Landwehr says when the DNR has less money in their fund, it means they give less money to the GIA program in the beginning of the year.
At this point it's likely each the Minnesota House and Senate will pass their versions of the budget bill this week and then reconvene after Easter break to develop one final bill that will be sent to Governor Dayton.