Flooding as a result of the spring thaw has closed significant parts of Fort Snelling State Park, one of Minnesota’s busiest outdoor recreational areas.
The park, a popular destination for hikers, bikers and birders, sits at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, which are both experiencing rising waters from the spring thaw, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
Most facilities in the park are closed, and key park locations, including Picnic Island and Pike Island, are not accessible, the DNR said. Trails are underwater and the main park road is closed just past the beach, limiting parking options and access.
As with all Minnesota state parks, accessible areas in the park remain open for day use during Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order.
“We know how eager folks are to get outside and do their social distancing in nature now that spring has finally arrived, so reducing access in response to seasonal flooding is particularly difficult this year,” park manager Nadine Meyer said in a news release. “But our first priority is ensuring the safety of the public and our staff, so these are steps we have to take.”
Other recreational facilities around the state also have been affected by melting snow, heavy rain and flooding. Some roads and trails in state forests, state parks, recreation areas and wildlife management areas will be closed temporarily because they are not firm enough to support vehicle traffic without causing damage.