Minnesota Parks Set Record After Reopening
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reopened its reservation system Tuesday (July 26) after the three-week government shutdown, and the number of reservations from 8 a.m. to midnight set a record, the DNR said.
Some 4,140 reservations were made for a total of 11,489 nights of camping and lodging.
“We had 162 reservations in the first five minutes,” Bill Anderson, reservation system manager for the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails, said in a news release. “It was by far the busiest day in the history of our reservation system.”
The previous high was 1,761 reservations on June 2, 2008, the date when Minnesota state parks began allowing reservations a full year in advance. Previously, campers could only make reservations up to 90 days in advance.
About three-fourths of the reservations made Tuesday were for overnight stays this year, and the rest were for 2012. Itasca State Park reported 379 reservations Tuesday, followed by Lake Carlos (278), Wild River (169), Sibley (167) and Bear Head Lake (160) state parks.
Others with more than 100 reservations included Temperance River, Tettegouche, Jay Cooke, Gooseberry Falls, Forestville/Mystery Cave, Whitewater, Split Rock Lighthouse, William O’Brien, McCarthy Beach and Father Hennepin state parks.
All but two of the 74 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas have reopened after the shutdown. Camden and St. Croix state parks remain closed because of extensive storm damage.
Gladwin Lynne, manager of the Red River State Recreation Area in East Grand Forks, said demand for campsites is high locally, as well, despite the cancellation of the Cats Incredible Catfish Tournament. Organizers canceled the tournament, which was scheduled to begin Saturday, because of high water on the Red River.
“We’re going to have a big weekend here,” Lynne said. “We might even fill up.”