New fall hours take effect Oct. 1
Hours for the bison range road at Minneopa State Park will change for the month of October due to decreasing daylight hours. Starting Oct. 1, the range road will be open Thursday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The road will be closed on Wednesdays for regular maintenance.
Hiking trails around the bison range provide more bison viewing opportunities. Trails are open daily year round during regular park hours.
A vehicle permit ($7 daily or $35 year-round) is required to enter the park.
Bison range road hours will be adjusted again to follow daylight hours for the winter. Beginning Nov. 1, winter hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Minneopa State Park’s bison herd arrived in September 2015 and has been a popular attraction for the park since then.
The bison are part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, managed through a formal agreement between the DNR and Minnesota Zoo. The partners are working together to preserve American plains bison. The plan is to grow the herd to 500 animals at several locations, including Blue Mounds State Park, Minneopa State Park and the Minnesota Zoo. Genetic testing of the herd from 2011 to 2014 found them largely free of any genetic material that would have come from cross-breeding with cattle. Less than 1 percent of all American plains bison tested so far have been found free of cattle genes.
Bison viewing tips:
- Bison may be difficult to spot at times. Visitors should drive slowly and keep a watchful eye as they go through the range.
- Remain inside vehicle while driving through the bison range.
- Bison should be given clearance of at least 75 feet from people and vehicles at all times.
- Dogs can make bison nervous, so pets must be kept on a leash while in the park and hiking around the bison range.
- Bison get nervous around loud noises or lots of activity, so keeping voices down and movements to a minimum may help keep the bison within easy viewing.
- Hiking is not allowed inside the range, but there are hiking trails all the way around the outside of the range that can provide some fantastic views of the bison.
For information on the Minneopa State Park bison herd, see: mndnr.gov/minneopa-bison.
Resources on bison can be found here: mndnr.gov/bison.
For more information on Minneopa State Park, call 507-389-5464 or visit: mndnr.gov/minneopa.