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Fishing licenses, boat registrations and state park fees would increase under the DNR budget headed to the Legislature

Minnesotans would pay more for fishing licenses, boat registrations and state park admissions under a new Department of Natural Resources (DNR) budget proposal headed to the Legislature.

DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen announced Tuesday that annual fishing licenses would increase 20 percent from $25 to $30 for state residents, while annual fishing licenses for non-residents would increase 35 percent from $46 to $62. The last time Minnesota fishing licenses went up in price was in 2017.

The boat fee schedule varies depending on the type and size of boat being registered, but a fishing boat between 17 and 19 feet would receive a 119% increase in registration from $27 to $59. Registering a pair of 20 shoes would cost $113, a 151% increase from $45. Strommen noted that watercraft registration fees are charged every three years and have not increased since 2006.

In addition to the proposed watercraft registration fee increase, boaters would pay a $20 aquatic invasive species surcharge, up from the current $10.60, according to the proposed budget.

To enter the state park, the annual sticker that now costs $35 would increase 29% to $45. Daily entry would increase by 42% from $7 to $10. Park fees were last raised in 2017. In all cases, if approved, the increases would begin in the fiscal year beginning July 1. The fishing license increase would begin on March 1, 2024.

Together, they will increase collections by $20.4 million a year to add five fishing stations, increase spending on lake and river infrastructure, upgrade camping facilities, increase accessibility to parks and trails, fund safety education, strengthen overspending budgets and increase outreach. enforcement, among others.

DNR Assistant Commissioner Bob Meier said the proposed fee increase will certainly draw some criticism, given the DNR’s request for more than $200 million in temporary funds to replace fish hatcheries, repair other damaged infrastructure, and adapt to climate change. , to plant trees, to expand. management and control of chronic wasting disease and pay for other investments.

More DNR capital spending requests will be announced later this week in connection with the state bond bill. Meier said the fee increases are necessary to preserve the proposed new assets once they are repaired and built. In the DNR fishery, for example, new jobs would be needed to optimize better fish storage capacities.

“We want to make sure we can take care of these things after they’re built or repaired,” Meier said. “I get the severity, but you have to look at the whole package.”