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End of shutdown makes for happy campers

CURRIE -- Anyone afraid the temporary state shutdown would ruin upcoming summer plans, take heart. State parks will open today for day use, and some campgrounds should be up and running Saturday.

Lake Shetek State Park in Currie was planning the opening of a new addition, Sunrise Campground, for July 1 until the shutdown changed their plans. Now, however, things are looking better.

"We are shooting for getting (Sunrise Campground) opened at 9 a.m. Saturday," said park manager, Kerry Christoffer.

Christoffer is hoping that the new camp site may even be ready for public today. His advice for interested campers is to call the park management office for confirmation.

Lake Shetek also has an existing campground, Oak Woods, which has been under construction since last year.

"We're hoping to get that opened again sometime in the summer," Christoffer explained.

The park had to go through three weeks' worth of refunds for the campground and group center reservations.

For Christoffer, the impasse gave him his first Fourth of July off since 1976.

"It wasn't a vacation but it was different," he said.

Blue Mounds State Park, located in Luverne, has its hiking trails and campgrounds open today. Unfortunately, the torrential downpour from last week caused beach erosion, which needs to be repaired before parts of the aprk are reopened. The flood damage also extended to picnic grounds.

"Depending on how much work we can get done (today), we hope to get the beach and the picnic ground open this weekend," said Kathy Dewschle, office manager.

According to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, discussions at a southern regional meeting Thursday included a deci-sion that new camping reservations will not be accepted until 8 a.m. July 26 due to a backlog of shutdown refunds, and once camp-ing sites are open, they will be available on a first come, first served basis.