‘Contingency plan’ for state parks in the works if government shuts down

We are now a month away from what could be an intensely busy weekend in our state parks. But will they be open?

If there is to be a state government shutdown, it would begin on July 1, which just happens to be a Friday of a long Fourth of July weekend. Campgrounds and picnic sites typically would be packed.

Who faces the wrath of Minnesotans if there are closed signs across all of those parks? Gov. Mark Dayton or the Republican Legislature?  Are plans being made to keep the parks open until July 5? Are plans being made to close the parks on July 1?

At this point, state officials aren’t saying.

Chris Niskanen, who up until three months ago would have been asking these questions as the outdoor editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, now is trying to answer them as the communications director of the Department of Natural Resources.

“We are still hopeful a compromise will be reached,’’ he said of the stalemate between the governor and the legislature.

That doesn’t sound like much of a plan, given that thousands of people will be descending on the state parks for the long holiday weekend.

“We are still working on a contingency plan,’’ Niskanen said.

It will do no good, he added, for people to call the DNR, individual parks, the Department of Tourism. The answer will be clear – well, sort of clear.

“We’ve just started working on a contingency plan.’’

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by David DeCoux on 05/31/2011 - 11:06 am.

    Shut the parks down! I know it’ll never happen. That would show that the Leg. has a spine and if that were the case we wouldn’t be in this predicament. (And, no, not compromising is not the same as having a spine.)

  2. Submitted by Eric Larson on 05/31/2011 - 05:53 pm.

    We can’t possibly live with out govt employee types don’t want a plan in place. Follow me.

    Scenerio #1

    Govt shuts down. The one essential employee at the Park writes out a note a couple of days b4 shut down. Photo copies hundreds of them. In the note it says. A. Newbies listen to the old hands B. The Park is closed C. Behave D. Take your garbabe with you. E. Thanks Now go prove your Minnesotans and not New Yorkers with out a clue. F. Newbies listen to the old hands. G. If this shut down lasts, we are going to need some volunteers. Email me (essential employee) at this address. And MN Park users have a slightly changed camping experience. But will remember for the rest of their lives that WE CAN DO IT!

    Scenerio #2 Union employees force the closing of the camp. Kick everyone out. Tell the park users that they do not have the brains that god gave a hamster and will get hurt in the big scary park. Let everyone have one negative experience and the flyer handed out by the pickets is HATE THE REPUBLICANS.

    No contingency plan means THE PARKS WILL BE CLOSED. Honestly Minnesotans. Do you think these state employees and their DFL henchmen could have run this state post Dec 7th 1941?

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