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outdoors Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

With the shutdown of Minnesota's government becoming more likely by the hour area residents and visitors who plan to enjoy the state's natural resources need to plan ahead.

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"We're still hoping for a settlement before July 1 but if there is a shutdown (many outdoor pursuits) would be on hold," said DNR assistant communications director Scott Pengelly who is based in St. Paul.

The ramifications of a shutdown would be everywhere but they probably would be most noticeable at Lake Bemidji State Park. Although the court system will decide which aspects of state government are vital to preserve the welfare of the citizens, reservations and activities at state parks are not expected to be among the services that are preserved.

Consequently, starting on July 1 Lake Bemidji State Park would be off limits to campers and visitors. Only the wildlife would have access to the park's natural amenities and services.

"Parks are not among the things the governor (Mark Dayton) requested (to the courts) to stay open," Pengelly said. "As a result, if there is no settlement as of Thursday afternoon, park officials will have to ask people to leave."

The likely scenario would be that park employees would contact all visitors and campers sometime in the late afternoon on Thursday and ask them to pack their bags, tear down their camps and head for the exit. By 10 p.m. Thursday the gates are expected to close and they will remain closed throughout the July 4 holiday and beyond if a settlement isn't reached.

Fishermen and boaters also should make sure that their licenses are up to date if they plan on enjoying the water.

"We are advising people that if they plan on boating or fishing over the Fourth of July to buy their licenses before the shutdown," Pengelly said.

If there is a shutdown no boat or fishing licenses will be sold after July 1 although all the licenses must be current.

Conservation officers will be on duty as the governor suggested and the court has agreed that the COs are vital to the well-being of the state's citizens.

"Conservation officers are licensed peace officers," Pengelly said, explaining the need for those positions to be maintained.

Other DNR positions that are expected to be manned during any potential shutdown are those at the fish hatcheries and tree nurseries. The Bemidji area hatcheries generally deal with walleyes and suckers and those fish hatched and were stocked either into the lakes or holding ponds long ago. Consequently, there will be no activity at the area hatcheries.

The nursery at Badoura, however, is busy during the summer months and is expected to remain up and running.

Bemidji is home to the Northwest DNR Region headquarters as well as a variety of area offices.

The region branches include enforcement, fisheries, forestry, wildlife, parks and trails, lands and minerals and waterfowl.

The area offices include fisheries, forestry and wildlife.

Collectively about 140 people are employed through the various region and area DNR departments.

Summer is the time of the year when the fisheries officials gather data which is used to determine the health of the area lakes. Those surveys and assessments, however, will be shelved, at least temporarily, if a shutdown is not averted.

The Bemidji Area DNR Fisheries officials are in the middle of a population assessment on Big Turtle Lake. Next week an assessment is scheduled for Little Turtle and on July 11 Lake Movil is scheduled to be the study lake.

July's schedule also includes an assessment study on Three Island while the August lakes scheduled to be assessed include Turtle River, Big, Marquette, Irving and Bemidji.

No one, however, is expecting the shutdown to extend into August and Pengelly hopes that if the state closes the situation will be resolved very quickly.

He has been informed that his DNR assistant communications director position has not been deemed vital.

"I?received not one but two layoff notices,"?Pengelly said.

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

With the shutdown of Minnesota's government becoming more likely by the hour area residents and visitors who plan to enjoy the state's natural resources need to plan ahead.

"We're still hoping for a settlement before July 1 but if there is a shutdown (many outdoor pursuits) would be on hold," said DNR assistant communications director Scott Pengelly who is based in St. Paul.

The ramifications of a shutdown would be everywhere but they probably would be most noticeable at Lake Bemidji State Park. Although the court system will decide which aspects of state government are vital to preserve the welfare of the citizens, reservations and activities at state parks are not expected to be among the services that are preserved.

Consequently, starting on July 1 Lake Bemidji State Park would be off limits to campers and visitors. Only the wildlife would have access to the park's natural amenities and services.

"Parks are not among the things the governor (Mark Dayton) requested (to the courts) to stay open," Pengelly said. "As a result, if there is no settlement as of Thursday afternoon, park officials will have to ask people to leave."

The likely scenario would be that park employees would contact all visitors and campers sometime in the late afternoon on Thursday and ask them to pack their bags, tear down their camps and head for the exit. By 10 p.m. Thursday the gates are expected to close and they will remain closed throughout the July 4 holiday and beyond if a settlement isn't reached.

Fishermen and boaters also should make sure that their licenses are up to date if they plan on enjoying the water.

"We are advising people that if they plan on boating or fishing over the Fourth of July to buy their licenses before the shutdown," Pengelly said.

If there is a shutdown no boat or fishing licenses will be sold after July 1 although all the licenses must be current.

Conservation officers will be on duty as the governor suggested and the court has agreed that the COs are vital to the well-being of the state's citizens.

"Conservation officers are licensed peace officers," Pengelly said, explaining the need for those positions to be maintained.

Other DNR positions that are expected to be manned during any potential shutdown are those at the fish hatcheries and tree nurseries. The Bemidji area hatcheries generally deal with walleyes and suckers and those fish hatched and were stocked either into the lakes or holding ponds long ago. Consequently, there will be no activity at the area hatcheries.

The nursery at Badoura, however, is busy during the summer months and is expected to remain up and running.

Bemidji is home to the Northwest DNR Region headquarters as well as a variety of area offices.

The region branches include enforcement, fisheries, forestry, wildlife, parks and trails, lands and minerals and waterfowl.

The area offices include fisheries, forestry and wildlife.

Collectively about 140 people are employed through the various region and area DNR departments.

Summer is the time of the year when the fisheries officials gather data which is used to determine the health of the area lakes. Those surveys and assessments, however, will be shelved, at least temporarily, if a shutdown is not averted.

The Bemidji Area DNR Fisheries officials are in the middle of a population assessment on Big Turtle Lake. Next week an assessment is scheduled for Little Turtle and on July 11 Lake Movil is scheduled to be the study lake.

July's schedule also includes an assessment study on Three Island while the August lakes scheduled to be assessed include Turtle River, Big, Marquette, Irving and Bemidji.

No one, however, is expecting the shutdown to extend into August and Pengelly hopes that if the state closes the situation will be resolved very quickly.

He has been informed that his DNR assistant communications director position has not been deemed vital.

"I?received not one but two layoff notices,"?Pengelly said.

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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