The Department of Natural Resources is waiving entrance fees to all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

That includes three parks within 40 minutes of 

Faribault: Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Sakatah Lake State Park and Rice Lake State Park.

“I wish everyone in Minnesota a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “And on the day after the holiday, I can't think of anything better than visiting one of Minnesota's spectacular state parks, with free admission. No matter where you are in the state, you’re likely within about a half-hour’s drive of a state park or recreation area.”

Research shows that spending time outdoors benefits children and adults, including improving mood, enhancing creative thinking and problem solving, promoting a conservation ethic, and improving physical fitness.

On Thanksgiving Day, the average American consumes around 4,500 calories. A brisk walk can burn about 300 calories in one hour.

“If you’ve never been to a state park before, this is a great way to extend your holiday a day further and get outdoors with family or friends to explore the natural beauty of our state parks,” said Erika Rivers, director of DNR’s Parks and Trails Division.

“We hope anyone who visits on Free Park Friday will return throughout the winter season – and beyond -- to hike, snowshoe, watch wildlife or participate in naturalist-led programs.”

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