MN state parks crews clean up storm damage, vandalism after gov. shutdown

By: Martha Boehm Email
By: Martha Boehm Email

WINONA, MN (WEAU)--Since Thursday afternoon, Jordan Vitse and his coworkers have been clearing storm-damaged trees from the Great River Bluffs State Park in Winona.

"I’m going to go back and start working on all the roads, getting them smoothed out," Vitse said. "Getting rid of all the wash-outs and ruts that had been formed.”

Park manager Rick Samples says the grounds crew also had to clean up some minor vandalism.

"Vandalism in the form of some signs that were taken down or torn down and some illegal entry into the camp ground that caused some ruts around a trail head and we also had some graffiti in a bathroom," Samples said.

Samples says the campgrounds will be ready for people who have reservations this weekend. But he says new reservations will be made by phone on a first-come, first-served basis until July 26th. Right now the government is working on issuing refunds to campers.

Samples says with all of the 66 state parks closed, the Minnesota government lost out on about $3 million. At the Great River Bluffs State park, they’re down about $10,000.

Samples says he doesn’t know what his budget will be yet for this fiscal year, but he hopes that the park won’t lose anymore money now that the grounds have re-opened.

“I think it’ll be a matter of time when people will get right back into the swing of the places they’re used to going into and enjoy," Samples said.

And with the grounds crews work, Samples says the park will be back to normal in a matter of days.

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