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Picnic baskets welcome at state parks' June 1 free open house

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Sunday, June 1, is open house day at Minnesota state parks.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to pack a picnic basket and head to any state park and recreation area for free to enjoy the Great Minnesota Picnic.

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"Each year the public is invited to visit state parks for free on the first Sunday in June," said Courtland Nelson, director of DNR Division of Parks and Recreation.

"This year, to commemorate Minnesota's Sesquicentennial, we are highlighting an activity that historically has been a park favorite over the years - the family picnic. We invite everyone to bring a picnic lunch and come to any state park or recreation area to enjoy a day of old-fashioned fun."

Many parks will offer refreshments and special programs that day, added Nelson.

At Fort Snelling State Park, St. Paul, the Zumbrota Community Band will play and "Seth Eastman" will talk about the landscape of Minnesota 150 years ago. Winners of the Fort Snelling photo contest will be announced. At 1 p.m. a naturalist at the park's fishing pier will share some tips and there will be a chance to hook a few fish on the catch-and-release program. Fishing poles will be provided.

Although no vehicle permit is needed for admission on open house day, fees will be charged for tours of Mystery Cave at Forestville, Soudan Underground Mine and Hill Annex Mine. The usual camping, lodging and rental fees also will apply.

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