Coping with the effects of the MN government shutdown

Our plans to camp at Sakatah Lake State Park over weekend were axed due to the MN Government shutdown.  So we headed to SE Minnesota instead, hoping that we’d find a place to camp somewhere along the Blufflands State Trail. Previous blog posts tell the story: we found a spot to camp in Sylvan Park in Lanesboro.

On Saturday, the effects of Friday night’s severe thunderstorm were everywhere: trees and branches on and blocking the trails. The MN DNR maintains the trails and normally would have been out in force to quickly clear them for the big holiday weekend. But with the shutdown, DNR employees are laid off.

trees and branches down on the Blufflands State Trail trees and branches down on the Blufflands State Trail trees and branches down on the Blufflands State Trail trees and branches down on the Blufflands State Trail
The good news: a chainsaw-toting network of local landowners, volunteers, and even laid-off DNR employees had all the trails open by mid-day on Saturday. We only had to carry our bikes across one downed tree on Saturday afternoon but it was removed on our return trip. It’s a good example of how motivated citizens can take on a task that government typically provides.

The bad news:  the trails are littered with millions of small sticks and branches, often making for a very bumpy ride (photo on far right). It’s likely that those will remain on the trail until the shutdown ends and DNR staff can get out and sweep the trail (example here.)  It’s a good example of how motivated citizens can’t do everything that government typically provides.

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