ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is proposing increases in fee and licensing costs for a variety of services in the upcoming budget.
DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr says the increases are necessary to maintain the current levels of services offered by the department throughout the state, reports WJON.
“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,” Landwehr told WJON, “Essentially you’d be able to drive in and hike but there would be no staffing there, no facilities there.”
WCCO reports that the proposed increases include raising the price for in-state deer hunting licenses from $30 to $34 and fishing licenses from $22 to $25. Daily passes for parks would go from $5 to $6 while annual passes would increase from $25 to $30. Yearly snowmobile registration would increase from $25 to $35. WJON reports that yearly boat fees would increase by anywhere from $2 to $60 depending on the size of the boat, and that ATV registration costs will increase by $5 yearly.
Landwehr told WCCO that this new increase should tide the DNR over for six years. Fees were last increased four years ago, something that Senate Assistant Majority Leader Bill Ingebrigtsen (R – Alexandria) has not forgotten.
“In 2012, as Chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, I advocated for increases to DNR fees the last time they were raised,” Ingebrigtsen told WCCO, “It’s only been four years, and historically, fees have not increased that often. I understand the need, but I also think the DNR has some work to do to trim the bureaucracy and save manpower, like making permitting less complicated.”
Landwehr told WCCO he believes that based on current budget proposals Republicans have advanced, there could be significant cuts in services offered.