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Minnesota State Parks are closed by budget impasse

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Late this afternoon (June 30, 2011), state park staff began emptying their parks and campgrounds in anticipation of the government's shutting down at midnight. Other than a few key natural resource functions, most of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) will cease operating and staff will be laid off until a budget bill is passed. Visitors to any part of the DNR website will find a shut down message with an FAQ list to help guide people until the MNDNR resumes operations. The shut down will be official at midnight on July 1st.

Here is the result for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts:

The State Parks are officially closed. Gates will be closed and all services such as water, restrooms, and camping will be shuttered. Technically, day use is allowed, but the DNR is discouraging it for safety and security concerns.

Minnesota historical sites will also be closed. This includes those in or near the state parks such as Fort Snelling, Forestville and Split Rock Lighthouse.

State Forest hiking trails and recreational trails will remain open, but unmaintained. In most cases any water sources or other facilities will be closed. Note-the Minnesota Valley State Trail remains closed due to flooding.

It isn't clear how long this situation will persist, but plenty of hiking options still exist. City, county and federal parks and lands are not affected by the state closure and offer a wide variety of hiking opportunities in the metro and around the state.

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