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Flandrau Park closes gate

July 1, 2011
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer ( , The Journal

NEW ULM - In anticipation of a government shutdown, Flandrau State Park closed its gates Thursday afternoon.

No camping, swimming or driving motorized vehicles into the park until a state budget is agreed upon. The shutdown will continue today, since budget talks broke down with no agreement by midnight Thursday.

The Flandrau swimming pool was fenced off and its filtration system turned off, according to Flandrau State Park Manager Gary Teipel.

Article Photos

Teipel said 400-800 people use the swimming pool each day during the summer.

Last weekend, more than 300 people camped in 92 state park sites, average for the summer months. The Flandrau Group Camp can house up to 110 people in bunkhouses, according to Teipel.

Park closure will put a dent into park attendance and the local economy.

Fact Box

Flandrau Facts

- 21 summer employees out of work due to shutdown

- 400-800 swimmers every summer day out of a pool due to the shutdown

- 53,000 visitors in July 2010

- 302,000 visitors in 2010

Last July, 53,742 people visited Flandrau State Park. It was the park's busiest month of 2010 that saw 301,992 visitors pass through the gates, according to DNR Southern Regional Information Officer Scott Roemhildt.

Flandrau State Park employs 21 people during the summer months and two full-time workers year around.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Southern Regional Office in New Ulm that employs 60 people will close during a shutdown.

"We're hoping the shutdown will be resolved in a brief amount of time," said Roemhildt.

The Harkin Store, Fort Ridgely State Park and Traverse de Sioux walking trails will be closed and programs cancelled during a shutdown.

An exception has been arranged on Saturday for Sleepy Eye native Brandon Scott Sellner who was earlier scheduled to play at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Ridgely State Park Amphitheater. Sellner will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at Squirrel's (the former American Legion Club) in Fairfax.

The Treaty Site History Center will remain open and administrative staff will continue to work.

According to the DNR, during a state shutdown:

Licensed anglers and hunters can continue to fish and hunt. All existing rules and regulations will be in force. A Lake Mille Lacs mid-season walleye fishing adjustment will be delayed or cancelled, depending on shutdown length.

All state park reservations directly impacted by state services interruptions will be refunded after state services are restored.

Volunteer activities including firearms safety classes are suspended, except for citizen science monitors, who do independent data collection like loon counting and precipitation recording.

Firewood cannot be cut from state lands.

State forests, roads and trails will remain open, unless gated or posted closed.

The Minnesota State Lottery closed offices at 5 p.m. Thursday. Lottery tickets will not be sold, validated or paid at any Lottery retailer or Lottery office.

Players with winning tickets should immediately sign them and put them in a safe location until they can be redeemed when operations resume.

No second-chance drawings will be held during the shutdown. Players will not be able to enter non-winning tickets. They should keep them and enter them when Lottery operations resume.

For more shutdown information, visit

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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