To better-serve the people of Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources this session is requesting the Legislature’s help to meet new and increasing online technology demands from individuals and businesses across Minnesota. The DNR’s Citizen Engagement in Natural Resources initiative, which was recommended in Gov. Mark Dayton’s recently-released budget proposal, would modernize the agency’s website and help develop user-friendly online and mobile tools designed to: help people find the information and services they need to enjoy the state’s great outdoors; and conduct business in Minnesota.
The initiative would provide an investment of $500,000 annually in the DNR’s online technology to make it easier for citizens, hunters, anglers, snowmobilers and others to discover and enjoy state lands, to engage in meaningful ways through their mobile devices, and to quickly locate content through improved navigation and enhanced search capabilities. Website visitors would find it easier to book campsites, buy state park passes, locate hunting land, and get fishing and hunting licenses, to name a few.
“No longer bound by hours of service, mail or paper, Minnesotans and visitors now expect easy, online access when they want it, and in an easy-to-understand format that meets their needs,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Our goal in this initiative is to provide Minnesotans, visitors and businesses easy access to DNR information and services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
The initiative is part of the governor’s administration-wide plain language effort and would improve the user experience for more than 2.8 million people who use the DNR website every year for fishing and hunting licenses, camping reservations, and to access other important information and services. An executive order signed by Dayton last year directed state agencies to use plain language to make government information easier to access and easier to understand – an initiative the DNR has made significant progress on over the last 12 months.
The investment would allow the agency to enhance its digital work, engage more citizens in the outdoors and streamline government. It would build a new modernized Web platform, create new digital content, and present information and services in plain language to better engage with citizens.
High-Traffic, High-Value Website
As one of the largest electronic information and license distribution government networks in the Midwest – processing 2.9 million licenses and registrations, and booking more than 95,000 park reservations every year – the DNR needs to modernize its information and online services in a way that best meets citizens’ needs within a secure environment. Doing so would engage even more Minnesotans in outdoor recreation and activities that benefit the state’s environment, economy, and quality of life.
The following is an overview of the Web traffic the DNR experiences on an annual basis:
•2.8 Million Users – An estimated 2.8 million individual people visited the DNR website from 7.5 million different devices between September 2013 and August 2014.
•12 Million Mobile Views – Mobile website views exceeded 12 million in 2014, up from only 1.3 million in 2010. That is a 923 percent increase in mobile traffic in just four years.
•2 Million Hunters and Anglers – Approximately 1.5 million anglers and 500,000 hunters annually buy their licenses from electronic point-of-sale portals.
•58 Million Hits – DNR’s website supports approximately 25,000 pages of information and had more than 58 million page views in 2014.
•95,000 Reservations – DNR’s Parks and Trails Division processes more than 95,000 park reservations annually through its electronic reservation system.
•114,000 Social Followers – There are more than 114,000 users of the DNR’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.
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