Glendalough, Maplewood brace for state cuts
While Gov. Mark Dayton's rubber stamp of approval hasn't gone down on a bill slashing funding for state parks, managers are bracing for the worst.
For Glendalough Park Manager Jeff Wiersma, funding cuts are nothing new. In the past the park has closed down camping for spring and fall seasons and when funds did allow the park to stay open, shower services were cut off.
Now, the state park campground is equipped to handle campers all year-round, with cabins in the winter. In the summer, the park employs six workers, with two typically on staff every day, along with one campground host.
In the winter, it's just Wiersma, with the number of employees on in the spring and fall depending on the budget, he said.
Considering the park has changed dramatically over the past few years, with a new entrance area and plans for a bike trail, Wiersma said it's hard to say this time around where cuts will be made.
A bill slashing funding for state parks was passed by both the House and the Senate and will now go to Dayton.
"There could be some changes, so we do not know for sure what those impacts would be," Wiersma said.
Donald Del Greco, park manager at Maplewood State Park, is in the same boat. At this point, he's waiting to see what the cuts could mean for his park.
"As far as the impact to particular state parks, those details haven't been made known," he said.
Del Greco is new to Maplewood State Park, having only been on the job for a month. But before that, he worked in parks on the eastern side of the state. Like others in the state, he's seen his fair share of budget reductions in the state park system, he said.
"We have had to reduce staffing hours in those parks, it's been a statewide effort to help spread out those budget issues," he said.
While that's not ideal for anyone, Del Greco said he understands everyone has to take part in helping to correct the budget.
"We are trying to help be a part of the solution for the funding deficit," he said.