How a partial government shutdown would affect Maine state parks

Maine budget issue could impact State Parks

PROSPECT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The first day of summer, only means that things will continue to get busier at Maine's State Parks, but there is a big "what if" right now and it has to do with the looming state budget deadline. The state has until June 30th to pass a budget, or there will be a partial government shutdown.

Cindy Johnson and her husband came to Maine from Columbus, Ohio to spend the summer. Fort Knox State Park and Historic Site is one of several state parks they plan to visit. 

“I've just always wanted to come here it's really pretty,” said Johnson.

She and her husband are hoping their plans to see all those parks don't get spoiled. They spent more than a hundred dollars on that pass to see all Maine's state parks. 

“Especially since we just bought the pass it'll be nice if they don't shut it down,” she said.

The Bureau of Parks and Lands says it is not expecting a shutdown but the governor has instructed all state agencies to draw up contingency plans just in case.  The Bureau of Parks and Lands could not tell NEWS CENTER what its plans are at this time but Fort Knox State Park and Historic site may stay open regardless. That is the only state park in Maine managed and staffed by an outside entity, the Friends of Fort Knox.

“Because we receive no taxpayer funding and we're self sufficient here we would be prepared just to continue operation so unless we got instruction from the state to close we would keep Fort Knox open.” explained Leonard Seymour, the executive director of the Friends of Fort Knox.

Friends of Fort Knox also staffs the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory which is controlled by Maine DOT. 

It says it hasn't received any guidance from Maine DOT yet, but also plans to keep the bridge open regardless of what happens in Augusta.

According to the Bureau of Parks and Lands Website, Maine manages 48 state parks and historic sites.

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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