One-third of state parks could have hours reduced and services slashed under a sweeping environmental bill approved by the Minnesota House and Senate on Tuesday.
The Republican-controlled House would cut deepest, but both houses would limit spending for the environment and natural resources during the next two years to about $200 million, a trim of about $40 million from projected spending. The House and Senate proposed more cuts than DFL Gov. Mark Dayton recommended, but he makes up much of the gap with outdoor and environmental fee increases.
I've never been much of a politico. It's just not me. And, Lord knows, as an educator I'm aware that pockets are tight and that cuts are sweeping. But here are my two-bits: I believe we need more of the natural world, not less. I believe people would find more of what they're looking for if they looked out, not down at their phones. I believe natural places impact people in overwhelmingly positive ways, and that they are worth taking care of, cherishing, and sharing with those who can be still enough to see.The reductions would hit nearly every corner of the Department of Natural Resources, the Pollution Control Agency, even the Minnesota Zoo.
DNR officials said the cuts could force a “mothballing” of up to 10 parks until state finances improve. Under the plan, the parks would remain open, but campgrounds and buildings would probably be closed and unstaffed.