Republican Plan Targets Cuts To MN Parks, DNR Nurseries

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 at 10:24 am

Republicans in St. Paul have been promising deep cuts in their “Cuts Only” budget proposals, and as this week unfolds we are starting to see some areas they are targeting. Two such areas are the State’s Parks and the DNR’s nurseries.

A third of Minnesota state parks could see their hours and services reduced under Republican-backed environmental bills that have now been approved by both the Minnesota House and Senate. Although, under the current plan no parks would be closed.

State DNR officials say up to 10 parks may have their campgrounds and buildings shut down temporarily until state finances improve, if the bills become law.

Tony Lourey, a Democratic State Senator, tells WCMP that the cuts to the DNR nurseries could harm Pine County.

Lourey describes the DNR nurseries as “a phenomenal resource” and points out that in the past 80 years we’ve planted 1 billion trees from that stock. Lourey says that “the Republicans have been in control for 2 1/2 months, and yesterday the bill was passed to close the State nurseries.” Lourey said the bill was “hastily put together,” and doesn’t believe this is right direction for Minnesota to head in.

Senate Environment and Natural Resources chairman Bill Ingebrigtsen defends the cuts. The Alexandria Republican told the AP that “difficult choices” today will ensure “a vibrant Minnesota outdoors tomorrow.”

The state faces a $5 billion budget shortfall.

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