Thousands of people began canceling their Fourth of July plans for camping trips in Minnesota today after the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) closed down the state parks.
DNR closed down the state park system at midnight Thursday as part of a general shutdown of state government triggered when Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican controlled legislature failed to pass a budget by the end of the fiscal year.
DNR will keep 220 to 230 employees working through the shutdown, including 186 conservation law officers, to provide critical services during the shutdown as ordered by a state court. While sportsmen with valid licenses can continue to hunt, fish and trap, the state has halted sale of all new licenses for fishing, hunting and trapping, ATVs and boats.
All state parks, meanwhile, will be locked.
During shutdown, the State Parks reservation system is suspended and all state parks and camping facilities are closed, reads a notice posted on DNRs website Friday morning. The grounds are posted closed and buildings, restrooms and other facilities are locked. During shutdown, all facilities are locked, roads and campgrounds are closed and gated where possible. Water is shut off, and no services are available. We strongly advise the public not to enter the grounds of any state park during the shutdown. We are concerned about serious health, safety and security issues if visitors enter parks when there are no restroom facilities, water, and staff available. For example, 911 calls might not be possible due to lack of cell phone coverage.
State trails and public water access areas will remain open, although no bathroom facilities or running water will be available.