Itasca State Park is an awesome place and draws millions of visitors from around the world for the chance to wade or walk across the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
But right now it's nearly empty as campers and visitors clear out with fewer than seven hours to go before state government, including the state's 66 parks, shuts down.
MPR News reporter Tom Robertson writes:
Preparations for a government shutdown have become very obvious this afternoon at the state's 66 parks.
DNR workers are asking people to pack up and leave the campgrounds. Tom Robertson reports from Itasca State Park that the park is already nearly empty. Most of the campers have left, many before the park staff told them to.
Normally there are about 7,000 in the park on a weekend.
Day visitors will be allowed in to use the trails but asked to leave at night. Today, the shops and visitors center will close at their usual times at 8 p.m.
In the event of a shutdown, tomorrow, 150 employees at Itasca State park won't have jobs. Statewide, the DNR park staff will shrink from 3,000 workers to 220. Most of those will be conservation officers who will be the primary eyes on the parks and keep people from staying overnight.
How long is the shut down for?