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MN Gov't Shutdown Would Affect State Parks

June 24, 2011, 6:45 AM by Casey Wonnenberg

MN Gov't Shutdown Would Affect State Parks
BLUE MOUNDS STATE PARK, MN - If Minnesota lawmakers can't come to an agreement on the state budget by July 1, the state government will have to shut down.

Minnesota's Democratic governor and Republican lawmakers are stalled in their dispute over spending levels in the upcoming two-year budget cycle. Governor Dayton wants to raise new taxes, while Republicans seek a hard cap on state spending.

If the two sides can't come to an agreement by July 1st, thousands of people could be out of work, including those working at state parks.

Dietrich Hanson and his family from near Seattle, Washington made a stop at Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, Minnesota.

"There's a lot of history here, and the wildlife is outstanding. I've seen a lot of buffalo," Hanson said.

Hanson is one out of more than 100,000 people who visit the park every year, but if Minnesota lawmakers can't come to a budget agreement by July 1st, the park could have to close.

"Right now we're about 90% full for reservations for Fourth of July weekend," Park Manager Craig Beckman said.

Beckman is encouraging people to keep those reservations.

"If a state shutdown occurs and it does affect our camping and customers, they can be assured they would get a full refund," Beckman said.

Hanson says state parks closing would not only be difficult for those within the state, but also those out of state.

"That would be really sad. I'm a Boy Scout, and we go camping at state parks all the time, and that's a lot of fun. It's a social thing you can do, and you get to see a lot of interesting things while camping. I think it would be a real loss if the parks had to shut down," Hanson said.

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