The County Board has provided for the creation and establishment of County Parks, County Monuments, County Recreation Areas, County-wide Trail Systems, and County Waysides for the purpose of conserving the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife therein. It secures the quiet, orderly, and suitable use and enjoyment of these areas and it furthers the safety, health, comfort, and welfare of all persons in their use.
Any person who willfully violates any rules promulgated herein shall be subject to immediate removal from the park or guilty of a misdemeanor or both. Refund(s) will not be issued if removed from a campground or shelter.The County Ordinances can be found by following this link. Reference Chapter 12 - Parks and Recreation.
Please call the Blue Earth County Parks Department at (507) 304-4025 with any questions.
Campgrounds in County Parks are established for the convenience and pleasure of the tourist and vacationer for overnight camping use. They are not intended as a place for permanent or semi permanent residence, a base for the operation of a business, or a facility for non-camper use. Campground roads and facilities are for the use of the campers and guests of the campers, and shall not be used for just driving through.
In keeping with the purposes stated in this section, park attendants are authorized to assign and operate campsites. Their actions shall be governed by the board of commissioners. The board of commissioners from time to time may alter the control of such campsites based on considerations of use, varying patterns of use, the size of the camping area, the physical conditions of a particular campground, and the availability of sanitary facilities.
Camping rates will be posted by the caregiver.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
- Camp in a park except in designated camping areas provided and designate for that purpose.
- Camp in a park without a written permit from the board of commissioners, public works director, or authorized representative.
- Occupy campsites contrary to a written permit, or otherwise violate provisions of a permit.
- Cause, create or make any noise which disturbs the peace, quiet and tranquility of the camping area. Hours between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am are for outdoor solitude.
- Discharge water or any other waste in a park except into designated containers, drains, or dumping stations.
- Dig trenches or make any other excavations in a park, except that the placement of tent stakes or anchors in the ground for the erection of tents is permitted.
- Camp under the age of 18 years unless accompanied by and in the presence of a parent or guardian, unless with prior approval, and such camping is part of an organized group with adequate adult supervision.
- Exceed either one family or four individuals per tent as specified by permit.
- Use a boat for sleeping quarters while tied on park water frontage unless registered as a camper.
General Park Rules are also enforced in campgrounds, which includes but is not limited to:
- Campfires are only allowed in fire rings. Glass, plastic, aluminum, and tin cans are not to be left in fire rings. Rings must not be moved.
- A person shall not allow any dog or other pet animal to enter any building, picnic area, or to be unrestrained. Animals will be restrained by a leash not exceeding six feet. Such animals shall not deprive or disrupt the enjoyment of the park by other persons. Refuse left by a pet shall be picked up and disposed of properly. A pet shall be allowed under the above conditions only.
- Campers and tents are permitted on designated sites only. With caretakers' approval, an additional (pup) tent may be allowed as long as this tent does not infringe on other campers, and the additional charge will be $6.00 per day. If the additional tent is for a separate family unit (or two or more individuals), the regular camping fee ($17) will be charged for that additional tent. A screen tent will be allowed at no additional charge. There shall be a limit of one screen tent per campsite.
- Tenting shall be limited to four individuals or one family unit per tent site.
- Fireworks or other explosives are not permitted.
- Camping by individuals under the age of 18 is not permitted unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Vehicles (including boat trailers) are permitted only on roadways and in designated parking areas. One vehicle per camp pad is allowed. Parking on grassy areas or shoulders of the roadway is not permitted unless instructed to by park personnel.
- Motorized vehicles (licensed or non-licensed) such as dirt bikes, 4-wheelers, or UTV's are not permitted.
- Visitors are not permitted between the hours of 10:00 pm and 8:00 am. (Registered campers only)
- Loud noises which may disturb the tranquility of the campground are not permitted.
- All fish entrails must be disposed of in the fish cleaning house.
Campsite Reservation Rules
- A Camping Reservation System is available at Bray and Daly Park. Reservations can be made by phone, in person, or online at https://reserve.blueearthcountymn.gov/ .
- Park personnel will take reservations from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm.
- Visitors my not make camping reservations prior to 8:00 am on March 1st of the current year. Individuals making reservations by telephone or in-person will be limited to making reservations for three separate dates/occasions per call on any given day. Individuals making reservations online will be limited to making reservations for five sites per reservation.
- A campsite may be reserved for one or more nights. On national holiday weekends, visitors will be asked to make reservations for a minimum of three camping nights, if the holiday falls on a weekend. On all other weekends, visitors reserving mobile campsites will be asked to make reservations for a minimum of two camping nights.
- Camping shall be limited to a total period of two weeks on any one site during the period of May 1st through October 31st.
- A privilege fee of $5.00 per campsite and an RT Vision fee of $3.00 per campsite will be charged to each reservation request. These fees are a one-time fee applied to each reservation request regardless of the number of nights the site has been reserved.
- To hold your site, the reservation fees and one night's camping fee (total of $25) must be received at the park at least one month prior to the date of arrival. The fees may be paid at the park in person, mailed to the park, or paid electronically online. If the fee is not received one month prior to the arrival date, the reservation may be cancelled.
- Bray and Daly Park have set aside 100 percent of their campsites for reservations. The park caretaker will select the site for each party when a specific site has not been requested.
- Camping fees and reservation fees are not refundable, but may be transferred to another date if the request is received two weeks prior to the date of arrival, there are campsites available, and a future date is selected at the time of request. Fees cannot be transferred to a different campground.
Shelter Reservation Rules
- A Picnic Shelter Reservation System is available at Bray, Daly, Duck, Rapidan Dam, and Williams Minneopa Park.
- Picnic shelters (log cabins) are available on a first-come, first-serve basis unless formally reserved through the parks office.
- Reservations will be taken only at the park for which the reservation is requested.
- Reservations are made by phone or in person only:
- Bray Park (507) 243-3885
- Daly Park (507) 524-3000
- Duck Lake Park (507) 243-3864
- Rapidan Dam Park (507) 546-9997
- Williams Minneopa Park (507) 304-4027
- Park personnel will take reservations from 8:00 am through 8:00 pm. Reservations for Williams Minneopa Park may be made between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
- Visitors may not make shelter reservations prior to March 1st of the current year. Reservations may not be made for the following year. Reservations may be made for Williams Minneopa Park year-round.
- A privilege fee is charged to each reservation. Each reservation is good for one day, from 8 am to 10 pm:
- $40 Enclosed Shelters
- $30 Open Shelters
- $20 Non-Profit Organizations
- Privilege fees must be received at the park one month prior to the date of arrival. The fees may be paid at the park in person or by mailing the fees to the park. The reservation fee is refundable if cancellation is made three weeks prior to the date of arrival.
- Vehicles are permitted on roadways and designated parking areas. Parking on grassy areas or shoulders of the roadway is not permitted unless instructed to by park personnel.
- All individuals and groups will pick up after themselves. Shelters should be left clean and free of any litter, garbage, or other material prior to the departure of said group.
- Shelters have a maximum occupancy of 80 individuals unless written permission is provided by the Blue Earth County Public Works Director or authorized personnel.
- Loud noises which may disturb the tranquility of the park are not permitted.
Boat Rentals are available at Bray Park and Duck Lake Park. These parks offer paddle boats, small boats, canoes, and kayaks to rent at $6 per hour. A valid driver's license is required for all rentals and is returned when the rented equipment is brought back.
Rental of boats to persons under the age of 16 is not permitted. Children between 12 and 16 years of age are permitted to use paddleboats under parental supervision only.
Boats must be docked by 7 pm.
Life jackets must be worn and are furnished by park personnel.
Boats are not allowed in the swimming area.
No tipping, rocking, ramming, or switching boats.
Click here to go to the Boat Rentals & Boat Launches Page. This page lists access points and boat launches to rivers and lakes in Blue Earth County.
- Park Operation
- Protection of Wildlife
- Beverages & Drugs
- Swimming, Boating, Fishing
- Red Jacket Trestle
- Ice Sailboats
- County Parks will be open each day during the season, or between May 1st and October 31st from 8 am to 10 pm. Williams Nature Center, Schimek Park, Wildwood Park, and Red Jacket Valley park will be open from sunrise to sunset.
- No person shall remain within any County Park within the hours of 10 pm and 8 am except registered campers in designated camping areas.
- A person may be granted a permit for temporary, exclusive use of a reserved space within a park.
- Any permit granted pursuant to this chapter may be revoked upon the violation by the permitted of any ordinance, rule, or regulation of the board of commissioners, or of any other local ordinance, or state statute.
- It shall be unlawful for any person to use any facility or area for which a fee or charge has been established by the board of commissioners without payment of such fee or charge.
- The board of commissioners shall not be liable for any loss, damage, or injury sustained by a park visitor.
- Any park or portion thereof may be declared closed to the public by the board of commissioners, the public works director, or authorized representative, at any time, and for any interval of time, or to certain uses, as the board of commissioners, the public works director, or authorized representative shall find reasonably necessary.
- It is unlawful for any person to use threatening, abusive, or insulting language, or to act in an indecent manner, or to do any act which constitutes a breach of the public peace in a park.
- All individuals and groups will pick up after themselves. There will be no littering, burning, or disposing of any garbage, refuse, sewage, waste, or other material, except in receptacles provided for such purposes.
- The use of loudspeakers or amplified systems in a park is not allowed except with written permission from the board of commissioners, the public works director, or authorized representative.
- It is unlawful for any person to ride, lead, or permit a horse to be within a park with the exception of the Saddle Club Park.
- It is unlawful for any person to operate a bicycle except on park-designated bikeways and roadways, and except as close to the right-hand side of such ways as conditions will permit.
- It is unlawful to sell, solicit, or carry on any business or commercial enterprise or service in a park, unless authorized by the board of commissioners in writing.
- It is unlawful for any person to conduct public meetings, assemblies, entertainment, parades or demonstrations within a park without first obtaining a written permit from the board of commissioners, the public works director, or authorized representative, and then only in areas designated in the permit.
It is unlawful for any person to:
- Bring or permit any pet within any County Park unless the animal is restrained on a leash no longer than six feet.
- Bring or permit any pet in Williams Nature Center unless exempted by state law.
- Bring or permit any pet to enter any building or designated beach area unless exempted by state law.
- Fail to pick up and properly dispose of the refuse left by any pet under the person's control.
- Allow their pet to deprive or disrupt the enjoyment of use of any area by other persons.
Protection of Wildlife
It is unlawful for any person to:
- Injure, destroy, or remove any tree, flower, shrub, plant, rock, soil, or mineral in any park area.
- Kill, trap, hunt, pursue, or in any manner disturb or cause to be disturbed any species of wildlife within a park, except that fishing may be permitted in designated areas.
- Release within a park any insect, fish, or other wildlife, or introduce within a park any plant, chemical, or other agent potentially harmful to the vegetation or wildlife of the park.
- Remove any animal, living or dead, from a park, and any animal so removed or taken contrary to the provisions of this chapter, or laws of the state, shall be considered contraband and subject to seizure and confiscation.
It is unlawful for any person to:
- Operate any vehicle within a park except upon roadways, parking areas, or other designated locations therefor.
- Operate a motorized vehicle without a valid driver's license.
- Operate a vehicle in a park at a speed in excess of posted speed limits.
- Park or leave a vehicle standing within a park except in a designated parking area.
- Operate a vehicle in a reckless or careless manner in a park.
- Wash, polish, change oil, or repair any vehicle within a park.
- Operate any motor vehicle on roads which are posted, chained, or gated prohibiting vehicular traffic.
- Operate any non-licensed motorized vehicles such as dirt bikes or mini-bikes within the boundaries of any county park.
- Operate a motorized recreational vehicle within a park except in such areas and at such times as designated by the board of commissioners, public works director, or authorized representative.
Beverages & Drugs
It is unlawful for any person to:
- Be in possession of glass beverage containers.
- Be in possession of intoxicating liquors or non-intoxicating liquors in containers larger than one quart.
- Be under the influence of intoxicating liquors or non-intoxicating liquors.
- Use, be in possession of, or under the influence of drugs.
- Be in possession of any kind of alcohol at the Red Jacket Valley Park.
It is unlawful for any person to:
- Possess any weapon within a park without a permit obtained from the board of commissioners, the public works director, or authorized representative.
- Shoot any weapon in or into a park from beyond park boundaries including, but not limited to: firearms, archery equipment, BB guns, and slingshots.
Swimming, Boating, Fishing
It is unlawful for any person to:
- Wade or swim within a park except at beaches and designated areas. Park visitors shall swim or wade at their own risk.
- Launch or land any boat, yacht, canoe, raft, or other watercraft upon any water, lagoon, lake, pond, or slough within a park, except at locations and times designated for that purpose.
- Leave unattended any boat or other watercraft, except in areas designated for that purpose.
- Operate any watercraft in a designated swimming area or other prohibited area.
- Fish in a park in violation of any provision of state statutes.
- Fish in a park area designated as a "no fishing area" or a "swimming area."
- Not clean or dispose of fish remains at facilities provided for such disposal.
The Red Jacket Bicycle Trail Trestle
In the interest of public health, safety, and the general welfare, the following regulations are hereby imposed upon all persons using, crossing, or otherwise having contact with the trestle.
No person shall:
- Bungee jump from the trestle
- Rappel from the trestle
- Attach any rope, bungee cord, or other type of cord, wire, roper, or similar object to the trestle
- Climb upon or over the side supports of the trestle
- Throw any item off of the trestle which may in any way endanger persons or property or which could be construed as littering
Use of Ice Sailboats and Motor Vehicles on Ice on Lakes
In the interest of public health, safety, and the general welfare, the following regulations are hereby imposed upon all ice sailboats and motor vehicles, including snowmobiles and motorized ice boats, operated, placed or maintained in or upon Lura Lake, Loon Lake, Crystal Lake, and Ida Lake whenever an aeration system is operating or schedule for operation under a permit from the department of natural resources:
- No person shall operate or park an ice sailboat or motor vehicle, which shall include snowmobiles and motorized ice boats, between the hours of sunset and sunrise unless they stay within 30 feet of the shoreline whenever there is ice formed on the following named bodies of water: Lura Lake, Loon Lake, Crystal Lake, and Ida Lake.
- No person shall operate or park an ice sailboat or motor vehicle, which shall include snowmobiles and motorized ice boats, within the marked areas whenever there is ice formed and the aeration system is operating or scheduled for operation.
- During a period when there is ice on the lakes, no person shall enter the area marked by signs indicating thin ice.
- No person shall move or remove thin ice signs on a lake unless authorized by the county.
- Motor vehicles and snowmobiles utilized for law enforcement, rescue, commercial fishing, or resource management shall be exempt from the provision of subsection (1.) of this section.