Minnesota’s state parks and campgrounds offer wonderful opportunities for visitors to get outside and see much of what our state has to offer. Because of the large amounts of people that visit many parks, there are a few rules to be aware of that help everyone enjoy their experience.

  • Alcoholic beverages containing more than 3.2 percent alcohol, including liquor, wine and most beer, are prohibited in the parks.
  • Pets must be restrained at all times, either in a portable enclosure or by a leash no longer than 6 feet, and pet waste deposited in mowed or maintained areas must be immediately cleaned up.
  • Fires are only permitted in designated fire rings, and firewood may not be gathered in the park.
  • Camping is permitted only in designated sites.
  • A person shall not disturb, damage or remove any items from the park other than edible fruit and mushrooms.
  • Any firewood brought into the park must be non-ash wood obtained through a certified vendor in the same county or certified by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Firewood is available for sale in most parks.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO (Conservation Officer) Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking a water appropriations complaint site and following up on a wetland complaint. Time was also spent instructing new COs regarding small- and big-game enforcement at Camp Ripley. Anglers and watercraft operators were checked.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and finished CO Academy tasks.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting with training in night driving at the CO Academy, contacting anglers and patrolling for ATV activity. Several calls about nuisance animals, including bears, deer and geese, were referred to DNR Wildlife.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week patrolling area lakes and assisting local agencies with cases. With another perfect weather week, lots of boaters were out enjoying themselves. While most boaters were legal there were some who forgot life jackets. One juvenile was observed chasing a loon while operating a personal watercraft. Assistance was given to the county and local police with fleeing suspects, search warrants, and on a traffic stop where the driver had warrants.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted at the CO Academy. He worked ongoing game cases and leech-trapping, and conducted follow up on a calf injury possibly due to wildlife. He also completed an abandoned-watercraft report.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. Area ATV trails were patrolled for activity. AIS inspections were performed. She also attended meetings with tribal game wardens and the area hydrologist.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked angling and boating activity. Two separate public waterway alteration complaints were investigated. Some time was spent checking for motor vehicles illegally using a paved trail to bypass a closed road at a construction site. Mathy also met with the county attorney regarding two cases from the deer season. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked multiple anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. She responded to two baby merlins that fell out of a tree, a boat that broke free of the dock during the storms, and a car vs. deer crash. Enforcement was take for fishing without a license and other various boating and angling violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) followed up on ATV complaints in the Outing area, worked littering complaints and investigated a public waters violation. Kunst also worked boat and water enforcement. Violations included failure to have personal floatation devices on a watercraft, operating an unlicensed watercraft, and a juvenile operating a personal watercraft without an operator’s permit. Kunst assisted CO Hughes in recovering a boat that drifted off a boat lift on Woman Lake after the storms on Friday night.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) focused enforcement efforts on the lakes and trails. Youth helmet violations and too many passengers on ATVs seem to be common violations in the Wadena and Park Rapids stations. A helmet is an inexpensive purchase and is the No. 1 safety equipment to prevent serious injury or death. Riders are reminded to read the OHV rules book before venturing out. Campers in area campgrounds were talked to about possession and consumption of alcohol in state campgrounds, and too many occupants at a campsite. Again, people must read the rules, which are posted near registration stations. The lakes, trails and campgrounds are busy this year and we want everyone to be safe while enjoying the outdoors.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating and invasive species activity. Aquatic vegetation permit sites were checked, along with a few sites without permits. Information was also shared via the local radio station.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled station lakes this past week. Numerous boating enforcement checks were conducted and violations were detected and addressed. Guida assisted DNR Parks and Trails at a state forest campground with a camper who was not following the rules. Guida also assisted an elderly man by moving a large, bloated dead white-tailed deer from his lakeshore frontage. There was no indication of cause of death.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked area lakes and ATV trails. Sullivan also focused patrols on invasive species compliance and enforcement action was taken for failure to remove drain plugs and transporting aquatic macrophytes.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity at the height of vacation season with a high occupancy at lake homes. He checked many nonresident licenses. Dead fish are being observed and reported likely due to warm water and low water flows. Complaints of illegal fishing methods were investigated.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time maintaining equipment, delivering equipment, working on office work, and following up on calls. The calls she followed up on included questions on general fishing regulations, Mille Lacs Lake fishing regulations, and bear concerns.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on a public waters violation and continued attempts to find a landowner on a wetland fill violation. Assistance was given to local law enforcement with a pedestrian creating issues on a state highway. Numerous bear calls continue to come in, along with trespass concerns.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, boating, and ATV/OHM enforcement this past week. Time was also spent helping out at the CO Academy and following up on complaints. Enforcement action was taken for various sport fishing and ATV violations.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week patrolling the area for AIS and ATV activity. A busy fireworks event was worked on Big Sauk Lake. While he was on the water, Silgjord addressed multiple PWC violations. During the event a small inflatable boat was stopped just after sunset as it was not displaying navigation lights. The operator was also found to be one PFD shy of what was needed. The operator was directed back to shore for safety concerns. Multiple ATVs were stopped over the weekend for youth helmet violations as well.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and boating and checked for AIS violations. He fielded calls about the upcoming deer season and loons. Fishing for catfish on the Sauk River Chain seems to be the best bite in the area.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) spent time on boating, fishing and AIS enforcement. He also reports assisting with a crash and several wildlife-related calls. Investigations included a big-game incident, screws and nails spread across a public access site, and boaters harassing a loon. A traffic stop resulted in pending charges for possessing a stolen dual purpose motorcycle, careless driving and unregistered motor vehicle. Additional enforcement action was taken for insufficient PFDs, no fire extinguisher, no angling license and no license in possession.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and boaters. Violations were found for no PFDs and no registration. Follow up was done on a waters/wetland investigation.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent time patrolling for AIS violations. He also spent time patrolling for boat and water safety and attended boat accident investigation training.

Aviation Section

CO Standby Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) took care of aircraft maintenance and administrative duties.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a training flight and attended to administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) worked on the aviation training manual and assisted with equipment preparation for an upcoming cattail-eradication project.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed equipment calibration and a practice-spray flight for the start of the cattail spraying project. He also attended an aviation webinar and did administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on public waters and aquatic plant management cases. Time was spent at the Academy teaching use of force and defensive tactics. AIS law compliance was monitored.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on WCA cases in his assigned area. A search warrant was conducted in Pine County for a WCA violation. Haberman also spent time conducting ranges at Camp Ripley for cadets during big-game training.

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Prepared by Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement