Itasca State Park campers politely evicted
Ten-year-old Nathan Anderson has a few words of wisdom for Gov. Mark Dayton, spoken as he rolled up his sleeping bag.
"They need to agree on a budget plan so we don't have to shut government down," the Stillwater boy urged.
Anderson and his extended family were being politely evicted from Itasca State Park Thursday afternoon as government services ground to a halt.
Sister Kallan Anderson agreed while the 11 campers loaded several vehicles.
"We really had fun but we have to cut it short," she said.
"We've been trying to explain to the kids all day why government can't solve its problems so they have to shut down," aunt Natalie Beaulieu explained, stumped for a simple explanation.
Park employees were preparing to go on unplanned and unpaid vacations.
As they closed parks across the state, staff members turned building thermostats to "unoccupied" and completed other tasks to shut down the facilities, said Amy Barrett, a Department of Natural Resources information officer.
The gates would be down and people would be unable to drive through the park, Lake Carlos State Park Manager Elizabeth Murray said. However, during a shutdown people may enter the park on foot or bicycle, according to Murray.
About 3,000 campers have reservations for the holiday weekend that would not be honored if there is a shutdown.
Closing parks were a visible example of what Minnesotans could face living in the only state that could not pass a budget, leading to a shutdown at midnight
Most states faced problems similar to Minnesota's $5 billion budget deficit, but have found answers. Iowa, for instance, passed its budget Thursday, avoiding a shutdown.
The impact would be widespread, with loggers in state forests idled, drivers' tests suspended, lottery tickets not available, state parks and recreation areas mostly closed, state rest areas barricaded, highway construction paused, some college financial aid hampered, the Capitol and most other state buildings closed to the public, many state-issued licenses not available, non-profit organizations going without state funding and pollution control services limited.