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MN state parks will stop camping reservations if budget impasse continues

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The ongoing budget battle in the legislature could spell trouble for Minnesota's state parks, which will stop taking camping reservations and face possible closure if an agreement is not reached soon.

Gov. Mark Dayton on Saturday decided to veto two more budget bills – environment/agriculture and jobs – to go with the education bill he rejected last week.

It will mean Minnesota's lawmakers will meet in a special session at an as yet undetermined date to hammer out an agreement on the bills, with some reports suggesting they could meet in early June.

But if an agreement is not reached by June 15, KSTP reports that the Department of Natural Resources will stop taking campground reservations at its state parks.

And if the impasse continues, then on July 1 state parks and their campgrounds would close completely.

This would be a repeat of 2011, when no budget agreement was reached and it led to a 20-day shutdown of the state government – the longest in state history, MinnPost reports.

The website said that in any shutdown, those who lose out are "citizens, young and old," and that's always the case when it affects Minnesota's hugely popular state parks, which according to DNR figures attract almost eight million visitors a year and around a million campers.

It would be a particular blow to the DNR given that any shutdown could coincide with Fourth of July weekend, which according to the St. Cloud Times is the most popular weekend for camping in the state.

According to KARE 11, on June 1 around 10,000 state workers will be handed layoff notices ahead of a possible shut down on July 1, but University of Minnesota political professor Larry Jacobs told the station it is unlikely to come to that.

"There is a lot of pressure on the legislature and the Governor to get the work done and get this budget passed so Minnesotans can go on with their lives," he said.

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