Hikers enjoy fall colors at at overlook
Autumn hike at Jay Cooke State Park

National Public Lands Day: Respecting Our Outdoor Spaces

September 24th is National Public Lands Day. As the Public Land & Outdoor Recreation Program Manager at Conservation Minnesota, I want to acknowledge the important role that Minnesota’s 11 Tribal Nations have played in land management throughout the state.

Many of our public lands were stewarded by Native Americans for thousands of years and continue to be today. I recently attended Sovereignty and Outdoor Spaces, an event hosted by the Native Governance Center, where I learned that Grand Portage State Park in Northeastern Minnesota is the only co-managed state park in the country—in partnership with the Gichi-Onigaming (Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) and the Department of Natural Resources.

Iconic state parks, recreation areas, national monuments, and public lands are often culturally and spiritually significant to Native Americans. Before you head out this weekend to bike, hike, hunt, or fish in our most cherished outdoor spaces, look over this guide on how to respect Native Nations’ sovereignty this National Public Lands Day.