The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, and school is back in session; there's no doubt that the season is changing in the Northland.  With that change in season comes the annual closure of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's so-called "seasonal rest areas".

According to details released by MNDOT, the following seasonal rest areas will close as the season progresses - at the corresponding dates:

  • McGregor - Monday, September 20
  • Big Sandy - Monday, September 20
  • Cross River - Monday, October 25
  • Cut Face Creek - Monday, October 25
  • Independence - Monday, October 25

While these seasonal rest stops will be closed during the coming winter months, the Minnesota Department of Transportation confirms that they will be re-opened again in the spring of 2022.

While MNDOT operates a few other seasonal rest areas throughout the greater State of Minnesota, these are the only ones with a firm closing date at the present time.  The other seasonal rest areas include ones in Knife River, Ottertail Lake, Sauer Lake, and Mount Josephine.

Generally speaking - seasonal or not, rest areas in Minnesota are broken down in to four distinct classes as detailed below:

  • Class I rest areas: These are the largest rest areas operated by the state - usually 15 to 30 acres in scale.  Open 24 hours a day, they offer picnic facilities, lighted walkways, lighted parking lots, a children's play lot, pet exercise areas, artwork, scenic views, and regional and cultural interpretive information.  Many offer staffed information centers.
  • Class II rest areas:  These smaller sites are usually 5 to 15 acres in scale.   They offer vault toilet facilities with separate facilities for men and women, picnic facilities, paved parking lots, and other site amenities.  Many seasonal rest areas fall into this category.
  • Class III rest areas: These rest areas usually exist on one to 5 acre sites.  They feature unisex vault or pit toilet facilities, picnic facilities, walkways, and other site amenities. Some have paved parking lots, water wells, and historic or interpretive displays.  Again, many seasonal rest areas fall into this category.
  • Class IV rest areas:  MNDOT refers to these as "simple, yet [the] most diverse" of their seasonal rest areas.  Again, they're usually one to 5 acres in scale.  Class IV rest areas don't offer toilet facilities, but they usually offer scenic views, historical markers, or interpretive information. Similar to Class II and Class III rest areas, many seasonal sites fall in to this category.

For complete details about all of the rest areas operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, click here to visit their site page.

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