Minnesota Department of Natural Resources field staff, resource managers and the DNR Information Center staff answer many questions every day about natural resources topics. Here is one of them:
Q. Minnesota has a number of Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs). What exactly is an SNA and how does it differ from other publicly owned lands?
A. Scientific and Natural Areas are special places where anyone can go to see examples of Minnesota’s native plant communities and rare species habitats. There are nearly 160 sites scattered throughout Minnesota’s prairie, coniferous and deciduous forest biomes. The program’s mission is to protect and perpetuate, in an undisturbed natural state, those lands and waters embracing natural features of exceptional scientific and educational value. SNAs are open to the public for hiking, nature photography, bird watching, snowshoeing and other activities that don’t disturb the natural conditions. Some SNAs are open to hunting. SNAs are intended to give people the opportunity to experience undisturbed nature. Thus, signs and parking lots may or may not exist at individual sites. Some sites have interpretive kiosks to help visitors identify key features and processes. These areas don’t have restrooms or other facilities and most don’t have maintained trails.
To learn more about Minnesota’s SNAs, visit: mndnr.gov/snas.
— Kelly Randall, DNR SNA outreach coordinator
For more information, call the DNR information line at 296-6157 or go to the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us .