Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota campers’

All of Minnesota’s 74 state parks and recreation areas were closing as of 4 p.m. Thursday because of a budget impasse and state government shutdown.

Campers across the state faced the dilemma Thursday afternoon as negotiations between legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton continued with no budget deal made.

Many people who had planned to camp at state parks in the area are now looking to U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, private campgrounds or Wisconsin campgrounds.

The Forest Service is gearing up for an expected increase in demand at their campgrounds, especially on the North Shore, said Steve Schug, assistant ranger for recreation and wilderness at Tofte and Grand Marais.

“We kind of figured it would impact our Forest Service offices big time,” Schug said Thursday.

The agency will keep in close contact with its campground concessionaires to keep tabs on campsite availability, he said.
“The last thing we want to do is send a forest visitor 50 miles up a gravel road to a campground that’s already full,” he said.
Pattison State Park in Wisconsin has received many inquiries from would-be Minnesota campers, said Nicole Farmakes, visitor service representative at the park.

“But we’ve been booked since May, so we can’t help those people,” she said.

The state parks and recreation areas are prepared to re-open as quickly as possible if a budget deal is reached, said Chris Niskanen, DNR director of communications.

“It might be simple, or it may be more difficult, depending on the park,” Niskanen said late Thursday afternoon. “We have a contingency plan for reopening the parks. We’ll have to turn on the water, turn on the electricity. … This is not a latch-key operation. These are complex facilities.”

Although the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources closed down most of its website Thursday afternoon because of the state government shutdown, one page will remain available, said Chris Niskanen, DNR director of communications. That page of Frequently Asked Questions will include the latest information on what DNR operations will remain in service during a shutdown. To reach that page, go to www.mndnr.gov. The page will offer no links to other parts of the DNR’s website.

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