State Parks close as shutdown loomsBuffalo River State Park, MN (WDAY TV) - The likelihood of a government shutdown is becoming all to real. Vacationers are left scrambling to find a place to stay and enjoy the holiday weekend. Once packed Minnesota state parks are now closed. This is a prime camping time.
By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY
Workers with the Minnesota DNR just closed this gate at Buffalo River State Park seconds ago. 10 PM, the deadline to do so. It will stay this way until lawmakers agree on a budget deal.
By the sounds and looks of it, everyone is enjoying the summer sun.
LaRae Mikkelson – Moorhead: “It's almost the real first day of summer weather.”
But cooling down from the sweltering heat is now a thing of the past…At least at this popular swimming hole.
Mikkelson: “We still don't know about the shutdown.”
LaRae Mikkelson visits Buffalo River State Park several times a summer. She and her two children love the water.
Mikkelson: “It's a great resource and the kids love it here.”
The shutdown is forcing state parks to close. Buildings are dead bolted. Water is off. And everything is clean as park workers scramble to shut down facilities.
Brian Nelson – Buffalo River State Park Manager: “That's what Minnesota's about. You go, you swim at the lakes, you go fishing, you go camping, canoeing, all sorts of different things and to have parks shutdown, that's like taking all of Minnesota away.”
The parks are losing money. Here, seven campers fled the grounds before the shutdown. Every site, 44 of them, was booked for the holiday weekend.
Nelson- “And it's not even just about the revenue, it's about people being able to come out and enjoy the park here.”
Mikkelson calls it unfortunate. The teacher is on break, but today, she's educating kids about the shutdown and lawmakers not being able to agree.
Mikkelson: “If the government can't do that as adults, I don't think that's the best message to send to kids and they'll know. The kids are gonna know when all of these favorite places are closed.”
Each campsite here costs 20 to 25 dollars. The state stands to lose about 1 million dollars each week during a shutdown. The money goes into the state's general fund. Park workers declined to comment on how the shutdown will affect them personally.