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How Will The Government Shutdown Affect State Parks?

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — For those who enjoy visiting Minnesota’s state parks, the shutdown could affect where many of us spend our Fourth of July weekend.

If there’s no budget agreement very soon, state parks could close, and those holiday plans could be ruined. The parks could shut down as early as July 1, which is the peak of the summer camping season.

After a Cabinet meeting to discuss the shutdown, the message was not reassuring to Minnesotans whose 4th of July camping plans could be disrupted.

Tina Flint Smith, the Dayton Chief of Staff, said that Minnesotans should “urge their legislators to negotiate and come to the table on funding a budget solution so that we could avoid this.”

However, for anxious Minnesotans, that might not be good enough.

“We’re a little bit upset,” said Thomas Bailey, who just got a state park permit with his grandson. “I would hope that they would go ahead and finish it so that we can have a good summer, ’cause summers are short also, especially for family time.”

The Department of Natural Resources won’t yet reveal whether Minnesota’s 74 state parks will close. The parks are one of the high-profile state services that are very popular, but not essential.

The DNR reported that nearly 3,300 campers have reservations for the 4th of July weekend alone, and the agency has booked more than 13,000 reservations so far for the entire month.

The Dayton administration will take shutdown plans to a judge who will decide what stays open, and what closes.

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