Minnesota government shutdown changes travel plans in Alexandria areaPlans changed for some traveling over the holiday weekend due to the Minnesota state government shutdown.
By: Wendy Wilson, Alexandria Echo Press
Plans changed for some traveling over the holiday weekend due to the Minnesota state government shutdown.
State parks were closed Thursday and campers were asked to leave. People were upset by the abrupt end to their retreat, but left peacefully, according to Jeff Johanson, Department of Natural Resources conservation officer.
Rest areas located off Interstate 94 were barricaded from motorists, leaving them with fewer choices to stop and eat, stretch their legs and use the facilities.
The parking lot at the Pipeline Travel Plaza in Alexandria was filled with trucks, campers and cars that were unable to take a break at state-funded rest stops.
“It has somewhat of a good impact and a bad impact,” said Michele Baker, manager of the Pipeline.
Many trucks use their facility to stay overnight during long hauls.
While the truck stop, gas station and store were seeing more customers Friday, “We can’t sell Lottery tickets,” Baker said.
Baker estimated a daily loss of at least $500 associated with not being able to sell the tickets. The Lottery is operated by the state and it is closed.
The Lees, of Grand Forks, North Dakota, were parked in the Pipeline lot, eating sandwiches sitting in the hatchback trunk of their car in the hot sun. They had wanted to take a bite at a grassy rest stop on their way to Minneapolis, but were forced to change plans.
They asked why the Minnesota government had shut down.
“I think it is unfortunate it’s happening over the Fourth of July,” Andrea Lee said.
Said Josh Lee, “They might appreciate the programs being cut more if they can’t enjoy them over the Fourth of July weekend.”