Most Minnesota State Parks Up and Running, reports RV Business on July 22, 2011. According to state officials, restart operations were on or ahead of schedule Thursday. Most Minnesota state parks will be open for day use and some for overnight camping as of July 22nd. Most overnight campgrounds should be open on a first-come, first-served basis while the state processes a backlog of about 10,000 cancelled reservations, amounting to $150,000 in refunds—incurred during the state’s three-week shutdown.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has set up a web page for monitoring the status of parks, forests and trails: MNDNR.gov/reopen.
“It’s a great relief for us to be back in business,” said Courtland Nelson, director of parks. Nelson asked for patience from the public for parks that remain closed. From clearing downed timber to ensuring water and sewage systems work, some parks will need more time than others, he said.
DNR officials haven’t tallied all the lost revenue from camping, concessions and license and permit fees, but Commissioner Tom Landwehr said the total could exceed $6 million. Landwehr, like other state department heads, said it was too early to calculate whether savings from wages of laid-off workers outpaced lost revenue. In a normal July, the parks system would bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars more than it costs to operate it each week, Nelson said.
The state’s electronic system to purchase fishing and hunting licenses and ATV and boat registration permits was running Thursday, as well. Officials said the system logged 3,760 transactions Wednesday, mostly from fishing-license sales.