MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The end of the state government shutdown may have led to the shattering of an old record, as Minnesotans flocked to make state park reservations.
The Department of Natural Resources reported that 4,140 marks the new record for the most state park reservations placed in a single day.
The reservations placed on Tuesday cover a span of 11,489 nights of camping and lodging.
“We had 162 reservations in the first five minutes,” said Bill Anderson, reservation system manager for the DNR. “It was by far the busiest day in the history of our reservation system.”
That obliterates the previous record of 1,761 reservations placed on June 2, 2008, which was the day that Minnesota’s state parks started accepting reservations up to a full year in advance.
“Most of the reservations were for the upcoming weekend. We think that means people are wanting to get back out and camp as soon as possible,” said Patricia Arndt, with the DNR’s parks and trails division.
It’s good news for the DNR who lost millions of dollars during the state government shutdown.
“We won’t ever fully be able to recover the revenue that was lost during those three weeks but we’re hoping there’s enough pent up demand to make up for some of that difference,” said Arndt.
The Itasca and Lake Carlos state parks topped the list with the most reservations. Arndt said the St. Croix park would have been at the top as well but it’s still closed due to storm damage.
“We’re not sure when it’s going to open up again, but it’s going to take a while to clear out the trees and make it safe for visitors to come back,” said Arndt.
Camden is the only other of the state’s 74 state parks currently closed, owing to storm damage.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Samantha Smith Reports