Minnesotans already facing the prospect of no camping in state parks during a government shutdown may confront another obstacle to outdoor fun -- no boating on scores of Minnesota lakes.
Six groups want Gov. Mark Dayton to close public access at every lake in Minnesota that contains an "aquatic invasive species."
That's a lot of lakes across Minnesota, including Leach Lake, Lake Mille Lacs and Lake Minnetonka.
"With the DNR's plan to close state parks, it remains essential to protect Minnesota waters from zebra mussels, Eurasian Water milfoil, quagga mussels and others as identified by the DNR's infested waters list of May 2," the groups argued in a letter today to Dayton.
"The DNR must act to prevent further spread of all aquatic invasive species during a time when watercraft inspectors are deemed non-essential."
"Imagine all the boat traffic going in and out of lakes infested with zebra mussels or Eurasian Watermilfoil during the long holiday weekend," Dick Hecock, president of Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations, said in a prepared statement.
"Tubing one day on infested waters outside of Becker County then coming to Detroit Lakes to watch the fireworks -- all without any kind of inspection or decontamination. This weekend alone has the potential to spread these invasive species like wildfire across the state."
The groups urging Dayton to close lakes are: Minnesota Waters; Minnesota Seasonal & Recreational Property Owners Association; Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations Collaborative; Pelican River Watershed District; Minnesota Division, Izaak Walton League Association; Minnehaha Creek Watershed District .
Talks are continuing this afternoon between Dayton and Republican lawmakers to make a deal on the budget and avoid a Friday shutdown.
A smarter and similarly effective move might be to simply ban the use of boat launches, rather than eliminate use of all lakes. It's not clear how the DNR stops the spread of invasive species, except by monitoring the launches.