The company learned at about 3 p.m. Thursday that its riverboat cruises on the St. Croix River can resume after they were cancelled because of shutdown-related cutbacks in service at the National Park Service's St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.
It's the last weekend of the tour season, but Vice President Amy Frischmon said Thursday the company would run extra trips Friday through Sunday:
Friday, Oct. 11:
- Two 80-minute trips, leaving at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct 13:
- Eighty-minute trips will leave at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
- One 30-minute trip will depart at 5:30 p.m.
"The reason we were able to do it is we are on private land returning to private land," Frischmon said of the company's riverboat tour routes. She said she believed the company's century of operation without incident also influenced the National Park Service's concerns about passenger safety with a scaled-back federal presence.
The company's canoe and kayak tours can't resume yet, she said, because they launch from NPS land. Riverboat trips cancelled since the shutdown began Oct. 1 can't be rescheduled, she said.
Frischmon credited the tour reopening to state and congressional representatives, including U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-MN), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN), state Sens. Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) and Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes).
She also lauded NPS Scenic Riverway staff, who she said "were fantastic to work with" regarding the tour service shutdown. "They didn't want to do it," she said, but "the National Park Service cares for everyone's safety."
Other tours on the St. Croix River operating outside of the Scenic Riverway have not been affected.
Related at Patch:
- 'We Will Return Your Call As Soon As the Government Reopens'
- Shutdown Could Leave St. Croix River Tourist Money on the Table