Although newspapers across Minnesota reported that families reluctantly left state park campgrounds when the government shut down, Gretchen Hoffman told talk radio host Scott Hennen on Friday that she learned over the course of the Independence Day weekend hat the private sector did a better job of serving campers than state parks ever could.
Never mind that Hoffman included county and city campgrounds in the private sector:
...People were walking into the state parks, but the other thing I did see that was remarkable was every private campground, every public beach, every county campground, or city campground, was packed. The private sector can pick up and do better than what government does.
So I've been taking notes throughout this whole shutdown to see how intertangled the government has become through our private sector, and when we come back next session--this is next January--we're going to try to deal with some of that stuff.
Bluestem is sure that the mayor of Hutchinson will be surprised to learn that the city campground down in West River Masonic Park is part of the private sector. County park boards were likely as not equally clueless, so it's great that Hoffman is here to set county and city governments straight about where they fit in. It's an "intertangled" recreational world out there, indeed.
When the legislature comes back next January, she's going to try to deal with some of that stuff.
And yes, she wants to reduce LGA funding--as well as get rid of mandates like that icky pay equity stuff for female employees.
Will privatization of state parks cross Hoffman's mind? In Painful park cuts ahead, the Star Tribune reports that other states are considering this option, and America's conservative state legislators do seem to copy each other's legislation quite a bit.
Listen to the clip here:
Hoffman mentioned that people were just walking in to the parks--another reason to support her notion that Minnesotans don't miss their government. Reports are coming in from around the state about the consequences of those visits. WDIO reports in Making a Mess in MN State Parks:
At Gooseberry Falls in Two Harbors--bathrooms are closed and trash cans are filling up, but with no staff, there's no one to clean up.
The entrance to the park has been blocked off with orange fencing and cones for over two weeks, but that hasn't stopped visitors from going inside. Saturday cars were lined up along Highway 61 and a steady flow of people walked right past the closed sign.
"They wouldn't have these parks if it wasn't for us in the beginning so we might as well keep on doing it," said Angie Olson of Onamia, Minnesota.
But once inside, some visitors are forgetting to take out what they brought in. Cups, plastic bottles, and food containers can be found scattered throughout the park. Trash cans are overflowing, because there's no staff on duty to empty them. . . .
. . .Bathroom facilities are also closed. While there are several port-a-potties scattered throughout the park, they're too far away for most visitors to get to, making a mess of a different kind.
Photo: State Senator Gretchen Hoffman.
Note: At a reader's suggestion, the quote from the video clip was transcribed and more snark added. This post is revied from an earlier iteration.
Links to more "Tales of Hoffman" below the fold.