These questions and answers are intended to provide information for DNR customers — citizens, regulated parties, grantees, localgovernments, and others — on DNR services potentially affected by a state government shutdown.
We will update these FAQs as we receive more information. We also want to emphasize that many of the answers to questions are dependent on the decision of the court. Until the court decides on critical government services, we do not have final answers. These answers are based on the Administration’s recommendation to the court.
What critical services will DNR continue if there is a shutdown?
Until the court decides, we do not know which DNR services will be critical. We anticipate that the majority of DNR services will not be operating, including our State Parks system and licensing and registration activities. We anticipate that most of our staff will be laid off.
What DNR services does the Administration want to be deemed critical?
The Administration has submitted several DNR areas to the court for consideration as critical. These range from such activities as maintenance of our nurseries and hatcheries to retaining a complement of Conservation Officers to protect the health, safety and property of the citizens of Minnesota. In addition, a skeleton administrative staff and some incident command personnel have been requested as critical.
Will I still be able to purchase a fishing license if there is a shutdown?
We anticipate that sale of all fishing, hunting and trapping licenses, including online and telephone sales, will be suspended in the event of a shutdown. Likewise, no boat, ATV or other licenses will be sold. Customers in need of licenses are advised to purchase them before July 1 as a contingency measure.
All natural resource and license laws will remain in effect during a shutdown and will be enforced.
Will state contractors be permitted to continue work?
No. Unless the goods or services are necessary for critical activities or are themselves deemed critical by the court, those under contract with the state for provision of goods or services will be instructed to suspend work for the state starting July 1.
Will the website be up?
Unless we hear otherwise from the court, the DNR’s website information will not be accessible. On-line applications and submittal systems will not be operating. The main page of the website will contain a statement that the agency is shut down. We also anticipate that our social media sites will not be updated.
What about State Parks reservations and access to park facilities and camping?
All reservations directly impacted by an actual interruption in state services will be refunded once state services are restored. However, those who would prefer to cancel their camping or event reservations can do so at any time.
Prior to June 27, you will incur the standard penalty for such cancellation. But from June 27-30, cancellation penalties will be waived for reservations that include a night between June 30 and July 14. The reservations system, including online and telephone sales, will likely be suspended in the event of a shutdown.
At this time, we are continuing to accept State Parks reservations for July and beyond. We urge individuals to keep their reservations, since there is still time for a compromise budget to be reached.
The reservations system will likely suspend operations July 1. The processing and mailing of refunds would be suspended during this time as well, so it may take some time to receive your refund.
If a shutdown occurs, we anticipate that State Park facilities will close at 4 p.m. on June 30, pending any other direction from the courts. The grounds will be posted closed and buildings, restrooms and other facilities will be locked.
What about state trails and public water accesses?
These areas will not be maintained and will not have restroom facilities or water service, but will be available for day use.
Can I camp in forest campgrounds?
Camping will not be allowed in forest campgrounds and the area will be posted closed. Restroom facilities and water service will be unavailable.
Will permits be processed?
No, work currently underway on processing permit applications will stop, if the court agrees with the Administration’s recommendation.
What will happen to pending mining and environmental permits?
Processing of new, amended or pending permits to mine will be suspended. New public waters and aquatic plant management permits will not be issued, but work may be done under existing permits. Environmental review will be suspended.
How about open burning permits?
All open burning will be curtailed.
Can I have a campfire?
Campfires are permitted, but please check with your county for more information.
What happens with public notice periods that extend
into the shutdown?
Public notice periods that extend into the shutdown will not prematurely expire, nor will they automatically be extended. Citizens may still submit comments on permits or other issues on public notice via regular mail, and those comments will be received and reviewed by staff upon their return.
Anyone wishing to submit comments should still observe the published deadline. We may, after the shutdown ends, decide to extend a public comment period. In those cases, we will provide a notice of extension.
Can DNR volunteers continue to work?
No. Volunteer activities are suspended during a shutdown. The only exception is for citizen science monitors, who do independent data collection such as loon counting and precipitation recording.
Because no volunteers will be working, classes taught by volunteers, such as firearms safety classes, will not take place.
Will I be able to communicate with the DNR or its staff?
Most likely not. Information Center services will be suspended. Voicemail and email will have out-of-office automatic replies. Mail will not be sorted or delivered.
Only those employees deemed critical will have full access to communications.