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DNR's new mobile website is a boon to outdoor recreationalists

Farmers Independent of Bagley, Minnesota

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A new, one-of-a-kind website that employs extensive mapping resources to help users locate hunting lands, state parks and forests and a wide range of other recreational areas is now available on mobile devices such as phones and tablets, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced.

The mobile "Recreation Compass" is available at After accessing the website, users can bookmark it among other favorites on their mobile device. "The website helps you find opportunities for recreation when you're away from your computer," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "It not only provides you with the location of recreation lands, but you can also find information such as types of vegetation and availability of trails and other resources."

The mobile Recreation Compass features more than 5.5 million acres of public lands administered as state forest, wildlife management areas, state parks and recreation areas, waterfowl production areas, aquatic management areas, and scientific and natural areas, state trails, including water trails, Walk-In access areas, hunter walking trails and nearly 3,000 public water access sites.

The mobile website has lake, river and stream names, as well as federal, state and local highways and roads.

Users can choose from a variety of backgrounds, such as the 2011 color aerial photography and color infrared photography of the state. The infrared imagery allows users to discern what kind of vegetation covers the landscape, such as whether a particular area is covered in pine trees, prairie, oaks or other types of vegetation.

The agency opted to create the service as a mobile website instead of an app because a mobile website is device independent and can be easily updated and maintained. The mobile website runs on just about anything using a modern web browser.

The Recreation Compass has been available on desktop and laptop computers since 1998, but the mobile version was developed in 2013 and has been tested extensively since last August.

The mobile Recreation Compass also links to other DNR mobile websites such as LakeFinder and Fall Colors.

Users, however, should not use mobile Recreation Compass as their sole navigation aid. While the mapping system shows boundaries of recreation areas, they are a general reference only. Users should still consult on-the-ground signage to confirm boundaries to avoid trespassing on private property.

As always, people should ask permission before entering private land.

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Original Publication Date: January 15, 2014

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