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Published July 21, 2011, 06:29 PM

State Park in EGF First to Reopen After Shutdown

July 20th was 20th day of the Minnesota shutdown, and July 21st is day one for the re-opening of Minnesota campgrounds.

July 20th was 20th day of the Minnesota shutdown, and July 21st is day one for the re-opening of Minnesota campgrounds.

With a budget deal in place, the Red River State Recreation Area in East Grand Forks was the first campground to open its gates.

Inside the park office, the phones were ringing at Red River as employees worked to fill the empty campground up.

Outside, people with lawnmowers and weed wackers were working to spruce it up.

Chris Matthewson, waiting in his pickup truck to go into Red River, well, does not plan on working at all this weekend.

"Looking forward to setting up, opening a beer or two and just relaxing," Matthewson, camping with his wife and kids, said.

The Red River State Recreation Area in East Grand Forks was closed for about three weeks while Governor Mark Dayton and republican lawmakers worked on the state budget.

Now, park employees are working on gaining some lost revenue. Park manager Gladwin Lynne said Red River lost a lot, and a lot is not just limited to money.

"Some people went and found other jobs.. That's what happens when theres a shutdown," Lynne said.

But here is what happens during a re-opening: 50 of the camp's 84 sites are booked, and the weekend is shaping up to be a full one.

"We Had call after call from people all over trying to get back in," said Lynne.

Janice and Bob Kennedy from Manitoba had a reservation for four July 16th. The couple waited out the shutdown in their camper at a different site, and when they pulled up to Red River they were not certain they would get in.

"We thought we'd drive down and see, and we pulled up and didn't see anyone in here, so we weren't too sure. They said, yeah, come on in. We pulled in and were the first ones here," said Janice.

Now the work is done in St. Paul, these campers can concentrate on what is really important.

"Just relaxing with the grandkids and taking it easy," said Matthewson.

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