Superintendent's Compendium

Signature block for Mississippi National River and Recreation Area's Superintendent's Compendium, signed September 20, 2022 by Superintendent, Matthew T. Blythe
Official Signature

NPS

 

A. INTRODUCTION

1. Superintendent's Compendium Described

The Superintendent’s Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR). It serves as public notice, identifies areas closed for public use, provides a list of activities requiring either a special use permit or reservation, and elaborates on public use and resource protection regulations pertaining specifically to the administration of the park. The Superintendent’s Compendium does not repeat regulations found in 36 CFR and other United States Code and CFR Titles, which are enforced without further elaboration at the park level.

The regulations contained in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, are the basic mechanism used by the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the park and to protect visitors and property within the park. Parts 1 through 6 are general regulations applicable to all areas of the National Park system, and Part 7 contains special regulations specific to individual parks. Each of these Parts has many sections and subsections articulating specific provisions. Within some of these Part 1-7 sections and subsections, the Superintendent is granted discretionary authority to develop local rules to be responsive to the needs of a specific park resource or activity, park plan, program, and/or special needs of the general public.

As an example, 36 CFR 1.5(a) Closures and Public Use Limits provides the Superintendent certain discretion in allowing or disallowing certain activities. The authority granted by the Section, however, requires the Superintendent to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (6 USC Section 551), which requires public notice on actions with major impact on visitor use patterns, park resources or those that are highly controversial in nature.

Another example is 36 CFR 1.6 Permits, which allows the Superintendent to require a permit for certain uses and activities in the park. This Section, however, requires that a list of activities needing a permit (and a fee schedule for the various types of permits) be maintained by the park.

A final example is 36 CFR 2.1(c) (1) Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archeological Resources, which provides the Superintendent the authority to designate certain fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption. This activity can occur, however, only if a written determination shows that the allowed activity does not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

This Compendium should be used in conjunction with Title 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, to more fully understand the regulations governing the use and enjoyment of all the areas of the national Park System.

A copy of Title 36, CFR, can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office at:

Superintendent of Documents
P.O. Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954

The CFR is also available on the Internet at: eCFR :: 36 CFR Chapter I -- National Park Service, Department of the Interior (ecfr.gov)

2. Laws and Policies Allowing the Superintendent to Develop the Compendium

The National Park Service (NPS) is granted broad statutory authority under Title 54 United States Code (U.S.C.) §100101(a) (formerly 16 U.S.C. 1a-1, “Organic Act”) to “….regulate the use of the National Park System by means and measures that conform to the fundamental purpose of the System units, which purpose is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in the System units and to provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” In addition, Title 54 U.S.C. §100751(a) allows the NPS, through the Secretary of the Interior, to “prescribe such regulations as the Secretary considers necessary or proper for the use and management of System units.”

In 1970, Congress amended the NPS Organic Act to clarify its intentions as to the overall mission of the NPS. Through the General Authorities Act of 1970 (54 U.S.C. Sections 100101-101301), Congress brought all areas administered by the NPS into one National Park System and directed the NPS to manage all areas under its administration consistent with the Organic Act of 1916.

In 1978, Congress amended the General Authorities Act of 1970 and reasserted System-wide the high standard of protection defined in the original Organic Act by stating “Congress further reaffirms, declares, and directs that the promotion and regulation of the various areas of the National Park System, as defined by Section 1 of this Title, shall be consistent with and founded in the purpose established by Section 1 of this Title, to the common benefit of all people of the United States.”

54 U.S.C. 100501 defines the National Park System as”…any areas of land and water now or hereafter administered by the Secretary of the Interior through the National Park Service for park, monument, historic, parkway, recreational, or other purposes.”

In addition to the above statutory authority, the Superintendent is guided by established NPS policy as found in the NPS Management Policies (2006). The Superintendent is also guided by more specific policies promulgated by the Director, National Park Service, in the form of Director’s Orders. As stated in the Management Policies, the primary responsibility of the NPS is to protect and preserve our national natural and cultural resources while providing for the enjoyment of these resources by visitor and other users, as long as use does not impair specific park resources or overall visitor experience. The appropriateness of any particular visitor use or recreational experience is resource-based and will vary from park to park; therefore, a use or activity that is appropriate in one park area may not be appropriate in another. The Superintendent is directed to analyze overall park use and determine if any particular use is appropriate. Where conflict arises between use and resource protection, where the Superintendent has a reasonable basis to believe a resource is or would become impaired, than that Superintendent is obliged to place limitations on public use.

3. Consistency of This Compendium with Applicable Federal Law and Requirements

The Superintendent’s Compendium is not considered a significant rule requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. In addition, this Compendium will not have a significant economic effect on a number of small entities nor impose a significant cost on any local, state or tribal government or private organization, and therefore does not fall under the requirements of either the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

The actions and requirements described in this Compendium are found to be categorically excluded from further compliance with the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in Department of the Interior (DOI) Guidelines 516 DM 6 and as such, an Environmental Assessment will not be prepared.

4. Development of the Requirements of the Superintendent's Compendium

As outlined above, the NPS has broad authority and responsibility to determine what types of uses and activities are appropriate in any particular National Park System area. The requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium are developed through an analysis and determination process. The decision criteria used during this process are:

  • Is the use or activity consistent with the NPS Organic Act and NPS policy?
  • Is the use or activity consistent and compatible with the park’s enabling legislation, management objectives, and corresponding management plans?
  • Will the use or activity damage the park’s protected natural and cultural resources and other protected values?
  • Will the use or activity disturb or be in conflict with wildlife, vegetation, and environmental protection actions and values?
  • Will the use or activity conflict with or be incompatible with traditional park uses and activities?
  • Will the use or activity compromise employee or public safety?

5. Applicability of the Compendium

The rules contained in this Compendium apply to all persons entering, using, visiting or otherwise present on Federally owned lands, including submerged lands, and waters administered by the NPS within the legislative boundaries of the park. This includes all waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all navigable waters.

The regulations contained in this Compendium do not apply on Federally owned lands and waters administered by another department or agency, on lands owned by the States of Minnesota or its local political subdivisions, on Indian tribal trust lands, or on private lands, except those lands which are administered by the NPS for public use purposes pursuant to the terms of a written agreement or lease.

Federally owned lands administered by the NPS include nine islands and Coldwater Spring Unit totaling approximately 65 acres. Maps of all lands administered by the NPS are found in Appendix A.

6. Enforecement of Compendium Requirements

NPS Law Enforcement Park Rangers and local law enforcement officers can enforce the requirements of the United State Code, 36 CFR, and this Superintendent’s Compendium.

7. Penalties for Not Adhering to the Compendium Requirements

A person who violates any provision of the regulations found in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, or provisions of this Compendium, is subject to a fine as provided by law (18 U.S.C. 3571) up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months (18 U.S.C. 3559), or both, and shall be adjudged to pay all court costs associated with any court proceedings. You may receive a list of fines associated with any particular provision by contacting the park at the address found below.

8. Comments on the Compendium

The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its program and activities at any time.

Written comments on the Compendium may be submitted to:

Superintendent
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
St. Paul, MN 55101

9. Effective Date of the Superintendent's Compendium

The Superintendent’s Compendium is effective on the approval date listed on the first page of this document, and remains in effect until revised for a period up to one year.

10. Additional Information

Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4 Definitions.

11. Availability

Copies of the Compendium are available at 111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105, St. Paul, MN 55101. A copy of the Superintendent’s Compendium may be downloaded from https://www.nps.gov/miss/parkmgmt/index.htm.

B. SUPERINTENDENT'S COMPENDIUM

In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 54 United States Code, §100751, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.
Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent’s use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 1.5(c), appear in this document identified by italicized print.

I. 36 CFR §1.5 - VISITING HOURS, PUBLIC USE LIMITS, CLOSURES, AND AREA DESIGNATIONS FOR SPECIFIC USE OR ACTIVITIES

(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:

Closures

  • Areas within 330 feet of active bald eagle nests are closed to all public use between March 1 and July 31 each year.
The park contains numerous bald eagle nests, which must be protected from human disturbance during the nesting period in accordance with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 and Management Guidelines developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In Minnesota, nesting begins in early March and young fledge about mid-July.
  • The visiting/public use hours for Coldwater Spring Unit are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Coldwater Spring Unit is located between two public use/open space areas: Minnehaha Falls Regional Park and Fort Snelling State Park. Park hours are set to be consistent with adjacent areas and to ensure visitor safety, prevent vandalism and provide efficiency in law enforcement.

(a)(2) The Superintendent has determined that the following activities require conditions and/or restrictions:

  • The following types of filming activities may occur in areas open to the public without a permit and without advance notice to the NPS:
Outdoor filming activities involving five persons or less that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras.
The organizer of any other type of filming activity must provide written notice to the Superintendent at least 10 days prior to the start of the proposed activity. Based upon the information provided, the Superintendent may require the organizer to apply for and obtain a permit if necessary to:
  • maintain public health and safety;
  • protect environmental or scenic values;
  • allow for equitable allocation and use of facilities;
  • avoid conflict among visitor use activities.
If the Superintendent determines that the terms and conditions of a permit could not mitigate the concerns identified above in an acceptable manner, the Superintendent may deny a filming request without issuing a permit. The Superintendent will provide the basis for denial in writing upon request.

The NPS will consider requests and process permit applications in a timely manner. Processing times will vary depending on the complexity of the proposed activity. If the organizer provides the required 10 day advance notice to the NPS and has not received a written response from the NPS that a permit is required prior to the first day of production, the proposed filming activities may occur without a permit.

The following are prohibited:
  1. Engaging in a filming activity without providing advance notice to the Superintendent when required.
  2. Engaging in a filming activity without a permit the Superintendent has notified the organizer in writing that a permit is required.
  3. Violating a term and condition of a permit issued under this section.
Violating a term or condition of a permit issued under to this action may also result in suspension and revocation of the permit by the Superintendent.
Public use hours for Coldwater Spring Unit are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Filming activity outside of those hours would require approval.
While Coldwater Spring Unit has no established closed areas to the public, we do limit access within 330 feet of active bald eagle nests are closed to all public use between March 1 and July 31 each year. These areas would be marked for closure when applicable and would require special permission for filming activity within that established area.

  • When the COVID-19 Community Level is Low or Medium in the county or all counties where the park is located based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals are not required to wear masks.
When the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH in the county or all counties where the park is located based on data provided by the CDC, all individuals over the age of two must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, in all common areas and shared workspaces in buildings owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants.

When the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH in one or more, but not all, of the counties where the park is located based on data provided by the CDC, the superintendent will determine whether individuals are required to wear masks. The requirement, if any, will apply to all facilities within the park.
Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.

Regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level, individuals may wear masks if they choose to do so. Where a state, local, tribal, or territorial government where the park is located imposes more protective mask-wearing requirements than those indicated by the COVID-19 Community Level, individuals must follow those more protective requirements within the park. More protective state, local, tribal, or territorial mask-wearing requirements are hereby adopted as federal requirements in all units of the National Park System located within that state, locality, area subject to a federally recognized Indian tribe’s regulatory jurisdiction, or territory, regardless of a particular park’s jurisdictional status.

Additionally, all individuals must wear masks in or on public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs/facilities, to the extent required by current orders or directives issued by the CDC, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or other federal agencies with jurisdiction over those conveyances or areas. As of March 4, 2022, CDC and TSA orders or directives require all individuals regardless of vaccination status to wear masks in indoor areas of all forms of public transportation conveyances, including busses, trains, and boats/ferries, and in the indoor premises of transportation hubs/facilities. Individuals are not required to wear masks while outdoors on conveyances or while outdoors on the premises of transportation hubs/facilities.

  • Gathering and removing plants or plant parts is currently prohibited in the National Park System areas unless specifically authorized by federal statute or treaty rights or conducted under the limited circumstances authorized by an existing regulation codified at 36 CFR 2.1(c).
Gathering of Certain Plants or Plant Parts by Federally Recognized Indian Tribes for Traditional Purposes is allowed under the following:
The National Park Service has established a management framework to allow the gathering and removal of plants or plant parts by enrolled members of federally recognized Indian tribes for traditional purposes. The rule authorizes agreements between the National Park Service and federally recognized tribes that will facilitate the continuation of tribal cultural practices on lands within areas of the National Park System where those practices traditionally occurred, without causing a significant adverse impact to park resources or values. This rule respects those tribal cultural practices, furthers the government-to-government relationship between the United States and the tribes, and provides system-wide consistency for this aspect of National Park Service-tribal relations.

This rule is effective as of August 11, 2016.

This rule authorizes the National Park Service (NPS) to enter into agreements with federally recognized Indian tribes to allow for the gathering and removal of plants or plant parts from National Park System areas for traditional purposes. Only enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe will be allowed to collect plants or plant parts, and the tribe must be traditionally associated with the specific park area. This traditional association must predate the establishment of the park. The plant gathering must meet a traditional purpose that is a customary activity and practice rooted in the history of the tribe and is important for the continuation of the tribe's distinct culture. Authorized plant gathering must be sustainable and may not result in a significant adverse impact on park resources or values. The sale and commercial use of plants or plant parts within areas of the National Park System will continue to be prohibited by NPS regulations at 36 CFR 2.1(c)(3)(v).

This rule does not affect any existing statutory or treaty right to gather plants within areas of the National Park System.

  • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
Definition: The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

Determination: The prohibition of launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft within lands and waters administered by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, protection of environmental or scenic values, protection of natural or cultural resources, and the avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities. Less restrictive measures will not suffice since the impacts of the new park use are not fully identified or understood. When proposed park uses and the protection of park resources and values come in conflict, the protection of resources and values must be predominant.

II. 36 CFR §1.6 – ACTIVITIES THAT REQUIRE A PERMIT

(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the superintendent is required:

  • §2.5(a) Specimen collection (take plant, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals)
Specimen collection needs to be limited to ensure there is no damage to resources.
  • §2.12 Audio Disturbances:
    • (a)(2) Operating a chain saw in developed areas
    • (a)(3) Operation of any type of portable motor or engine, or device powered by a portable motor or engine in non-developed areas
    • (a)(4) Operation of a public address system in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51
Audio disturbances need to be limited to protect public enjoyment of the resource.
  • §2.50(a) Conduct a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events
Events need to be regulated to ensure there is no resource damage and to ensure that events do not conflict with each other.
  • §2.51(a) Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions of views.
Gatherings are regulated to protect park resources and ensure that events do not conflict with each other.
Small Group Exception: Groups of less than 25 persons do not require a permit as long as the event takes place within designated special use locations.
Designated special use location descriptions:
  • Coldwater Spring Unit: An area north of the springhouse and reservoir that is approximately 200ft (N-S) x 100ft (E-W)
  • See Appendix B for map
These locations have been identified because they do not have fragile resources, allow for other simultaneous uses of the park, provide ample gathering space, and are centrally located near significant features.
  • §2.52(c) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising.
Distribution of printed matter needs to be limited to prevent littering and to protect public enjoyment of the park.
  • §2.62 Memorialization:
    • (a) Erection of monuments (Requires approval from Regional Director)
    • (b) Scattering ashes from human cremation. No ashes will be scattered from an airplane above park lands.
Memorialization needs to be regulated to prevent resource damage and to protect public enjoyment of the park.
  • §5.1 Advertisements - (Display, posting or distribution.)
Advertising needs to be regulated to prevent resource damage and to protect public enjoyment of the park.
  • §5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business (Requires a permit, contract or other written agreement with the United States, or must be pursuant to special regulations).
Business on public land needs to be regulated to prevent resource damage and to protect public enjoyment of the park.
  • §5.5 Commercial Photography/Filming:
    • (a) Commercial filming of mostion pictures or television involving the use of proffessional casts, sets, or crews other than bona fide newsreel or television.
  • (b) Still photography of vehicles, or other articles of commerce or models for the purpose of commercial advertising.
Commercial photography and/or filming needs to be regulated to prevent resource damage and to protect public enjoyment of the park.
  • §5.7 Construction of buildings, facilities, trails, roads, boat docks, path, structure, etc.
Construction needs to be regulated to prevent resource damage.
  • §6.9(a) Operation of a solid waste disposal site
Solid waste disposal needs to be regulated to prevent resource damage.

III. GENERAL REGULATIONS

36 CFR §2.1 – PRESERVATION OF NATURAL, CULTURAL AND ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

  • Cutting live or dead standing trees is prohibited.
Standing trees, both living and dead, provide habitat values essential to protection of park resources.
  • The gathering by hand of edible fruits, berries and nuts for personal use or consumption on site is permitted. This includes the gathering of edible mushrooms or morels, but does not include the tapping of maple trees, or any other tree species, for sap.
Native vegetation in the park produces fruits, berries and mushrooms that may be harvested in small quantities without resource damage. Tapping trees for sap must be prohibited to prevent natural resource damage.
  • The gathering and use of all live and dead mussels and empty mussel shells is prohibited.
Native mussels are relatively uncommon in the park and include two federally endangered species. Researchers use empty mussel shells to help evaluate mussel populations and their disturbance by the public must be prohibited.
  • Collecting water from Coldwater Spring Unit is allowed. However, based on previous water quality tests and the nature of an open, unprotected water source, the NPS does not recommend drinking the water.

To protect public health the NPS recommends against drinking water from Coldwater Spring. A more detailed explanation may be found at:
Artifacts within the park are the property of the United States and must not be removed.
  • The collection of wildflowers is prohibited.
Disturbance of native vegetation in the park must be prohibited to protect park resources.
  • Damaging trees by pounding nails or attaching boards or ropes is prohibited.
Disturbance of native vegetation in the park must be prohibited to protect park resources.
  • Cutting native vegetation or grading soils is prohibited.
Disturbance of native vegetation in the park must be prohibited to protect park resources
  • Planting vegetation on NPS lands without permission is prohibited.
The NPS is working to manage the vegetation on its islands and at Coldwater Spring Unit and uninvited planting can disrupt the management of the park’s natural resources.
  • Snowmobile use is not permitted on NPS islands or at Coldwater Spring Unit, except for emergency or administrative use.
This is necessary to prevent resource damage and impacts to public enjoyment.
  • Use of a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar, or other metal detecting device, or sub bottom profiler is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.2 - WILDLIFE PROTECTION

Hunting is prohibited at Coldwater Spring Unit and on Island 108.01, Island 111.01, and Island 111.02. Hunting is allowed on other lands owned or administered by the National Park Service in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and Tribal laws and regulations. Building or hunting from a tree stand or other elevated device which is affixed to a tree by nails, spikes, lag-bolts, screws, or similar device is prohibited. The use of screw-in ladder steps is also prohibited.

  • Hunting is prohibited in urban settings including at Coldwater Spring Unit, Island 108.01, and on adjacent lands (Minnehaha Falls Regional Park and Fort Snelling State Park) for public safety.
  • Island 111.01 and 111.02 are no longer islands except during flooding, and are managed as part of Battle Creek Regional Park, where hunting is prohibited.
  • Where hunting is allowed, elevated stands that damage resources must be prohibited to protect those resources.

Construction of a permanent hunting stand is prohibited. Temporary stands are allowed as long as they cause no damage to vegetation and are removed each day at the close of hunting hours.

Construction of a permanent hunting stand would amount to private use of public property and must be prohibited to protect public enjoyment.

Clearing vegetation or brush for a shooting lane is prohibited.

Clearing must be prohibited to protect natural resources.

36 CFR §2.3 – FISHING

Fishing is allowed in accordance with applicable Federal, state, and tribal laws and regulations.

Fish may be used occasionally to manage vegetation in the Coldwater Spring Reservoir. Fishing for these fish is prohibited.

If the NPS uses fish to manage vegetation growth in the reservoir at Coldwater Spring, the NPS will carefully balance the fish population. Removing the fish by fishing could disrupt the balance and harm the resource and public enjoyment of it.

36 CFR §2.10 – CAMPING and FOOD STORAGE

Camping is prohibited at Coldwater Spring Unit and on Island 108.01, Island 111.01, and Island 111.02. Camping is allowed on other lands owned or administered by the National Park Service in accordance with the regulations found in 36 CFR 2.10 Camping and food storage, with the following special conditions:

Camping is prohibited in urban settings to ensure visitor safety and consistent policies with adjacent lands. Camping is prohibited on lands adjacent to Coldwater Spring Unit (Minnehaha Falls Regional Park and Minnesota Historical Society land). Island 111.01 and 111.02 are no longer islands except during flooding, and are managed consistent with Battle Creek Regional Park, where camping is prohibited

Length of stay for any particular campsite is three nights; all campsites must be vacated by noon the day after the last night's stay. The maximum length of stay is 30 days between May 15 and September 15.

Camping must be limited in duration to prevent a single individual or group from “claiming” a site for extended periods, to ensure broader public enjoyment of the site, and to protect sensitive resources.

Camping is prohibited where posted as "no camping" or "area closed for restoration."

It may, from time to time, be necessary to close a site to camping to ensure visitor safety and enjoyment, and to protect sensitive resources.

Food, leftover food scraps, and food residue from cooking and cleaning, garbage and lawfully taken fish must be disposed of in proper garbage facilities, secured in air-tight containers or galley areas of boats. Park users must pack out all food scraps and garbage. Burning or burying food scraps or garbage is prohibited.

Food waste and other garbage must be regulated to protect park resources and ensure visitor safety and enjoyment.

36 CFR §2.11 – PICNICKING

Picnicking is allowed on all NPS islands, but is limited to the designated Special Use Zones at Coldwater Spring Unit. Picnicking is not allowed in areas that are posted “area closed for restoration.”

Picnicking must be limited at Coldwater Spring Unit in order to prevent resource damage. It may, from time to time, be necessary to close a site to picnicking to protect sensitive resources.

36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:
Designated Areas:

Fires are not allowed at Coldwater Spring Unit unless approved under a special use permit.

Fires must be limited to prevent resource damage.

Established Conditions for Fires:

Burning or placing garbage, food, or food scraps in fires is prohibited.

Fires must be limited to prevent resource damage.

No fire shall be left unattended. All campfires and cook-fires will be out and cold before any site is permanently vacated or simply left for the day.

Fires must be limited to prevent resource damage and ensure visitor safety.

During periods of elevated fire danger, open fires will be prohibited in accordance with appropriate State and local fire bans.

Fires may be prohibited at times to protect resources and ensure visitor safety.

36 CFR §2.14 – SANITATION and REFUSE

All refuse will be removed from lands owned or administered by the National Park Service by park users in accordance with the park's carry in, carry out policy. Leaving of refuse on NPS lands is prohibited.

Food waste and other garbage must be regulated to protect park resources and ensure visitor safety and enjoyment.

Fish remains shall be buried away from the shoreline or at least 50 feet from any developed campsite, landing, picnic area, or other developed facility.

The disposal of fish remains must be regulated to protect park resources and ensure visitor safety and enjoyment.

(b) Conditions for the disposal, containerization, or carryout of human body waste have been established as follows:

Disposal of human waste is prohibited.

The disposal of human waste must be prohibited to protect visitor safety and to protect resources.

Dumping of human waste into any water source is prohibited. All human waste from boats must be disposed of at an approved marina waste dump station.

The disposal of human waste in the river must be prohibited to protect water quality and visitor safety.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

Pets must be leashed at all times on lands owned or by managed by the National Park Service.

Pets must be leashed on all NPS owned and/or managed lands to prevent damaging natural resources, disturbing wildlife, and interfering with visitor use and enjoyment.

Pets may not be left unattended or tied to an object.

Unattended pets would interfere with visitor enjoyment.

(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:

Persons in the park must promptly dispose of all pet excrement. Excrement must be gathered and removed from NPS lands.

Pet excrement must be prohibited to prevent resource damage and interference with visitor enjoyment.

(b) The use of dogs in support of hunting must be in accordance with Federal and State laws.

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY

Personal property, including camping gear, shall not be left unattended on lands owned or administered by the National Park Service. Property left unattended for 24 hours shall be considered abandoned property and will be confiscated by the National Park Service.

Personal property, including camping gear, is left to “claim” a site and prevent public use. Unattended property must be regulated and removed to reduce resource damage and ensure public enjoyment.

(a)(2) Property may be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours in the following areas and under the following conditions:

Geocaching: geocaching is allowed on NPS-owned islands and at Coldwater Spring Unit. Caches must not be buried or damage natural resources in any way. Individuals placing a cache shall notify the NPS of its location. NPS retains the right to remove, or have removed, a cache that it feels is in an inappropriate location or is causing undue impact to natural resources. When hiding, finding and trading items in a cache, individuals are subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws. More detailed description of the requirements for geocaching may be found in the attached Appendix C.

Geocaching may be permitted only if resource damage does not occur.

36 CFR §2.35 –ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:

The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited at the Coldwater Spring Unit and on Island 108.01. Where otherwise lawful, possession or consumption of alcohol is permitted on other park property.

Coldwater Spring Unit and Island 108.01 are maintained for passive recreational uses and the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages would be inappropriate and inconsistent with the purposes for which the area is maintained.

36 CFR §2.38 – EXPLOSIVES

Using or possessing fireworks, firecrackers, or any type of explosive material is prohibited. The only exceptions are Visual Distress Signals (VDS) that are properly stored on vessels and approved for use by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Explosive material must be prohibited to prevent resource damage and protect visitor safety.

36 CFR §3.16 and 3.21 – SWIMMING AND BATHING

(a)(2) The following restrictions apply to all swimming and bathing activities:

Jumping or diving into the river from any tree, swing-rope, or similar structure is prohibited on lands owned or administered by the National Park Service.

Swimming or bathing in Coldwater Spring Reservoir is prohibited.

These activities are prohibited to protect visitor health and safety.

36 CFR Part 4 VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC SAFETY

  • §4.10 – Travel on park roads and designated routes
Operating a motor vehicle is prohibited except on park roads and in parking areas. Parking is only allowed in designated parking areas.
Motorized travel and parking in the park need to be regulated to prevent resource damage and to protect public enjoyment of the park.
  • §4.30 – Bicycles
    • The use of a bicycle is permitted on park roads and in parking areas that are otherwise open for motor vehicle use by the general public and on designated multi-use trails.
    • Electric Bicycles (E-Bike)
      • Definition: CFR 36 1.4 defines Electric Bicycle as a two-or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of not more than 750 watts that meets the requirements of one of the following three classes:
        (1) “ Class 1 electric bicycle” shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
        (2) “Class 2 electric bicycle” shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
        (3) “Class 3 electric bicycle” shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
    • Use: E-bikeas are allowed on Mississippi National River Recreation Area managed lands where traditional bicycles area allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.
    • Operation: A person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4: sections 4.30(i). Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is governed by State law, which is adopted and made part of this Compendium. Any violation of State law adopted by the paragraph is prohibited.

      Provisions affecting e-bike use are necessary to assure resources are not damaged and public use and enjoyment of park facilities are not diminished.
 
 

APPENDIX C – GEOCACHING

Introduction

The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) covers approximately 54,000 acres of land and water in the Twin Cities. However, MNRRA owns and administers only 79 of these acres. These lands include islands and the 29-acre Coldwater Spring Unit. The remaining acres are privately owned or are public lands managed by cities, counties, the State of Minnesota, and various federal agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Geocaching is a recreational activity that connects participants to user-defined special places, such as a waterfall or historic landmark. Participants use a GPS-enabled device with descriptive information from Geocaching.com to find landmarks or containers that are hidden in (for example) a park. Per the Superintendent’s Compendium, geocaching is permitted on lands owned and administered by MNRRA, provided that geocachers adhere to the policies set forth in this document. An overview of these MNRRA owned and administered lands can be found in Appendix A of the Superintendent’s Compendium.

MNRRA will remove geocaches that do not comply with the policies set forth in this document. MNRRA also reserves the right to limit the number of geocaches hidden on lands it owns and administers. Geocaches may also be temporarily removed or permanently relocated to accommodate management needs. Park staff will coordinate these actions with the person responsible for the cache whenever possible.

Geocaching on lands within MNRRA’s border but not owned and administered by MNRRA is permitted at the discretion of the Geocaching.com community and respective private landowners and public land management agencies.

Geocaching Policies

Creating and hiding geocaches

  • Before a container-type geocache is placed on MNRRA owned and administered lands, the owner must submit and have approved the application attached to this document.
  • Before a landmark or virtual-type geocache is described on Geocaching.com or other geocaching services, the promoter must submit and have approved the application attached to this document. Examples of landmarks include rock outcroppings, trees, water bodies, and historic structures.
  • Geocaches must be publicly listed. They shall not be advertised as “members only” or “premium” on Geocaching.com or other geocaching services.
  • Geocaches should interpret a feature related to the landscape in which they are hidden. For example, a geocache hidden in Coldwater Spring Unit should interpret Coldwater Spring Unit or a feature found within the Coldwater Spring Unit area, such as Historic Fort Snelling.
  • Caches shall neither be made from nor contain items that are offensive, dangerous, or illegal (e.g., glass jars, pornography, and/or fireworks).

Where and how geocaches shall be hidden

  • Generally, geocaches shall be created and hidden according to the guidelines established by the geocaching.com community. These guidelines include minimum distance between caches, appropriate size, suggested container material, and required contents and interpretive material. A link to these guidelines can be found here: http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx.

In addition to those guidelines, the following rules also apply:

  • Geocaches shall not be placed underwater. For example, a geocache shall not be hidden in the pool at Coldwater Spring Unit or in the creeks found within Coldwater Spring Unit.
  • Geocaches must not be hidden in a manner that defaces or destroys federal property (e.g., cutting a hole in a brick face) or the landscape (e.g., burning prairie grass to make an open space or cutting a hole in a tree).
  • Geocaches shall not be placed in any area that would be unreasonably damaged by the foot traffic necessary to access the geocache. For example, a geocache must not be placed next to a lone oak tree that is deep inside a prairie landscape, away from the official trail, with no clear path between the trail and the tree.
  • Geocaches shall not be hidden in restoration areas, any area closed to the public, any area that would significantly impact MNRRA’s natural and cultural resources, or any area that jeopardizes visitor safety in pursuit of the geocache.
  • Geocaches shall not be buried.
  • Geocaches shall be accessible from a standing or kneeling position. For example, a geocache may not be hidden 50 feet up a tree.

Looking for geocaches

  • Geocaching is permitted during visiting hours, which are 6am-10pm, year round.
  • Geocaching events facilitated by a private party require a special use permit. See page 5, section B2(f), of the Superintendent’s Compendium for more information.

Last updated: November 1, 2022

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111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul , MN 55101

Phone:

651-293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center.

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