Social Distancing: State Park Shutdown Looming
Minnesota State Parks Could Be Closed Just 1st If Budget Deal Isn't Reached
Camping and outdoor activities exploded in popularity during the pandemic. RV’s. Campgrounds. Boats. All are at a premium right now as while we’re still technically in a pandemic. But some of the most beautiful outdoor recreation areas in our region might soon be off limits thanks to some dug-in politicians in St. Paul.
Here is one of my favorite live cams in the region, the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River in Itasca State Park.
It’s a really popular camping and event destination, but we might all be banned from visiting there soon.
The state will send cancellation notices within the next week to people who made camping and wedding reservations at state parks, because the state government is set to shut down on July first if the legislature and governor can’t all agree on a budget.
The divided Legislature sent the first two minor budget bills to Governor Tim Walz on Monday, the eighth day of the special session. Twelve more bills remain, and the most contentious ones, including police oversight changes, are not finalized.
Walz said his administration’s shutdown planning would ramp up this week and that letters will go out to people who rely on various state services, while contractors will start winding down road projects later this week.
Top lawmakers expressed confidence that several breakthrough deals were emerging.
But lawmakers have cut so close to the July 1 deadline that they can little afford further delays.
Places like Itasca, Maplewood, Buffalo River and Glendalough are at risk of closing during a shutdown, denying us access to this natural beauty until a budget agreement can be reached.
Do you have any plans at state parks anytime soon? A shutdown would likely mess with 4th of July plans for a lot of people.
I know I’m paying close attention. I’ve got a camping trip set for August at Itasca.
Let me know if your summer plans are in danger this morning, and what you think about that.
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