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DNR closes Grand Portage State Park over coronavirus concerns

Other state parks are still open for day use.
Grand Portage State Park

A state park known as the home of Minnesota's highest waterfall is shut down due to the coronavirus. 

On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the temporarily closure of Grand Portage State Park, which is situated on the north shore along the Canadian border.

According to a news release, the action comes at the request of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, "due to concerns about health risks posed by COVID-19 and non-essential travel to the Park."

The park, located entirely within the reservation and the only state park not owned by Minnesota, is "a cooperative venture between the DNR and the Band."

DNR officials don't expect this to put much of a damper on Minnesotans' plans for recreation during the pandemic, as "relatively few people who are not members of the Grand Portage Band live close to Grand Portage State Park."

The closure also includes the park's rest area and welcome center.

It comes after reports that Native American communities are especially vulnerable to coronavirus, with one advocate telling Vox that "Covid-19 could be a perfect storm for Indian Country.” 

Meanwhile, the other sites within Minnesota's state park system remain open, albeit with some restrictions. 

The parks are no longer open to campers or any overnight use, and are limited to "day use only" until May. 

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