If you’re stressed out, overindulged in tech, or just curious about the natural world, you might seek solitude and immersion in one of the many Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs) across Minnesota. You’ll likely find a pristine wild environment near you.

SNAs are exceptional places to experience, study, and protect Minnesota's fascinating natural flora and fauna—especially rare species and unique geological features. The SNA program was founded with the goal that Minnesota’s natural heritage not be lost from any of its ecological regions.

There are no staff, trails, restrooms, or drinking water at SNAs, and only low-impact activities, such as forest bathing (an eco-therapy of relaxed mindful leisurely walking), hiking, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, bird watching, and photography are encouraged. Before venturing to an SNA, consult the rules for SNAs and be prepared for time in nature without amenities while not harming the ecological refuge or the animals and plants that depend on it.

Each site is maintained as a unique ecological niche by scientists, natural resources experts, partner organizations and volunteers. Volunteer opportunities include collecting and planting native plant seeds, searching for and removing invasive species, and collecting trash. Check the DNR's SNA events page for more information on volunteering.

Almost half of Minnesota’s 161 SNAs have been permanently protected, restored or managed with the help of lottery dollars through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Lottery dollars also have been and will continue to be used to strategically acquire additional land for SNAs.

A portion of every dollar played on lottery games helps make important projects like SNAs possible. SNAs are your public lands and wild spaces. When you play the lottery you help make Minnesota an even better place to live.