It’s probably one of the most visible effects of this looming shutdown: thousands who flock to Minnesota state parks had to pack up their 4th of July campsites and go elsewhere. And it couldn’t have happened at a worse time: one of their busiest weekends of the year!
Thursday night, the swimming pond at Buffalo River State Park closed indefinitely at 6:30. It’s usually bustling with hundreds of campers, hikers and swimmers, but not anymore. The park’s gates are closed indefinitely. Park officials are hoping for the best — that legislators will stop sparring and get a deal done so people can enjoy their planned holiday weekend activities.
“It’s going to effect our bottom line down the road.” says Park Manager Brian Nelson. “But the thing is, people don’t get to come out and use it, that’s the most important thing.”
“We decided to come out here one last time.” says Moorhead mom Sara Hansen. “We heard that it was going to shutdown so we got out here at 3:30 to go swimming one more time because you can’t come out tomorrow.”
The reason state park officials cleared out the campgrounds Thursday at 4:00 p.m. is because they say it would be too difficult to herd campers out in the middle of the night if legislator talks failed.
The Minnesota State Parks closure meant the sudden eviction of the 130 campsites at William O’Brien State Park. Water and electricity was shut off at the camp sites, meaning that the campgrounds would be vacated on the eve of the July 4th weekend, typically one of the busiest weekends for state parks.
“This is so unfair,” said 8-year-old camper Ashley Jensen. “We were going to be here for four days and do lots of fun stuff. It’s now all ruined.”
A previous article on this subject was posted on 5 Star Campgrounds: State Shutdown Would Freeze DNR, Close State Parks.