Sarah Strommen: It's time for fall

Despite the cooler weather, campgrounds are still buzzing with activity, fishing license sales are up, and trails continue to draw hikers, bikers and bird watchers.

Sarah Strommen
Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. (Photo Minnesota DNR)

Minnesota’s seasons can change quickly. It often seems that just when you get settled into a summer routine, summer ends. That was doubly true this year.

COVID kept me closer to home this summer. My family opted for a Minnesota staycation this year, spending time on Minnesota’s public lands and waters — and we weren’t alone. It seems the pandemic encouraged Minnesotans everywhere to get outside! I’d like to think so many of us turned to the outdoors because celebrating Minnesota’s natural beauty is an innate part of who we are. It’s where we instinctively go to recharge and revive ourselves.

As summer’s days grow shorter and cooler, it’s clear we’re not ready to head indoors — unless, of course, “indoors” is a tent or a camper cabin. Campgrounds are still buzzing with activity, fishing license sales are up, and trails continue to draw hikers, bikers, and bird watchers.

That’s probably because fall may be Minnesota’s best season, offering its own unique options for outdoor activities.

First of all, there’s the splendor of fall color. Hiking or biking among trees dressed in reds, golds and yellows is a great way to spend a fall day. If you’re looking for new places to watch the fall color show, the DNR’s webpage offers a Fall Color Finder Map , state park activity updates, fall color forest drives, and even a fall color email alert.


And then there’s hunting. I’m always cautious about promising good hunting — I don’t want to jinx anyone, especially myself — but I’m encouraged with prospects for deer and pheasant hunting in many parts of the state. If you’ve never been hunting, but have an inkling to try, check out the DNR’s Learn to Hunt web page . We have how-to guides and even virtual hunting classes to get you started.

No matter how you choose to get outdoors this fall, please #BeGoodNATUREd. Model good outdoors etiquette. Lend a hand. Leave no trace. Show that Minnesota’s public lands are open and welcoming to all —and all of us must care for them.

The pandemic has changed many things for most of us. But what it hasn’t changed — in fact, what it has highlighted — is our love of the outdoors and our need to connect with nature. So let’s not mourn the passing of summer. Instead, let’s get out our flannel and blaze orange: It’s time for fall!

Sarah Strommen is the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. This fall you’ll find her and her family on the water, in the woods, or on the trail.

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