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MN assessing reopening federal park sites, but....

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: October 11, 2013 - 2:58 PM

Minnesota plans to look into reopening shutdown-closed federal park sites in the state but there is a glitch.

"We literally are having a difficult time getting ahold of federal employees who can even give us basic information," said Chris Niskanen, spokesman at the Minnesota Department of National Resources.

On Thursday, the federal Department of the Interior said it would consider allowing states to use their funds to reopen shutdown closed parks.

"(Interior) Secretary Jewell will consider agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to re-open national parks in their states," according to a statement on the Department's website.

Voyagers National Park

Voyagers National Park

 

Utah reached an agreement with the federal government on Friday to reopen parks this weekend; Wyoming decided not to do so.

In Minnesota, state officials are assessing whether it is would make sense or even be possible to use state funds to reopen closed sites like Voyagers National Park.

Among the considerations, according to Minnesota officials: What would it cost for the state to pay federal employees to staff the sites? How many visitors use the sites this time of year? Does the state have the funds to reopen the sites? What kind of revenue do the sites generate?

"We’re just on the front end of looking into this," Niskanen said.

But to complete the inquiry state officials will need to get someone at the federal government on the phone.

"Just sort of getting some of this basic logistical information from the federal government is our first hurdle," Niskanen said.

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