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Shutdown looms over state parks in local region

BETH RICKERS/DAILY GLOBE In a file photo, Blue Mounds State Park Manager Rick White stands by one of the park's Sioux quartzite cliffs, which he calls the "beginner's wall" for climbing.

WORTHINGTON -- As summer approaches, the public may have to resort to alternative forms of adventure as state parks anticipate halting services due to a possible state government shutdown.

"I've been told to close at 4 p.m. Thursday pending the negotiated state budget," said Phil Nasby, manager of Kilen Woods State Park near Lakefield.

Kilen Woods enjoyed a steady influx of campers last weekend.

"We get a lot of people from I-90 (out-of-state). Those are the ones I'm most concerned about," Nasby said.

Blue Mounds' assistant manager Tom Sawtelle said the Luverne park has experienced a busy season thus far.

"We don't know anything yet," Sawtelle said. "We're basically waiting for the process to take its course."

In Currie, Lake Shetek has anticipated the opening of its new Sunrise Campground on Friday.

According to park manager, Kerry Christoffer, construction has been under way for almost a year.

Campers have been making reservations since February, but he assured that in event of a state shutdown, a full refund will be provided.

Lake Shetek State Park offers group centers for larger group meetings.

"We have a number of groups that have reserved a year in advance, and the fact that we won't be open is somewhat disappointing," Christoffer said.

He cautioned the prospect of government shutdown is not final yet.

"We're still hopeful someone figures this out and this won't happen." He said.

If the shutdown happens, camping activities, will be suspended after 4 p.m. Thursday, but the state park trails will remain open.

"We encourage people not to use them," Christoffer added, because the parks' utilities will be affected.