MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton said he is not taking sides in the long-running dispute over recreational uses at Voyageurs National Park.
Dayton, D-Minn., organized a closed meeting Friday between county commissioners from northeastern Minnesota and Fran Mainella, the newly appointed director of the National Park Service.
The local leaders pressed Mainella in Washington, D.C., to delay issuing Voyageurs' next management plan, which is the latest installment in a decades-long battle over land use and motorized recreation on federal lands in the region.
Officials from Koochiching and St. Louis counties have railed against the park's rules and regulations for years. They say park management has restricted access for local residents and held down economic development.
Barbara West, superintendent of the 218,000-acre park, said the plan would continue most limits on snowmobiles and water scooters at Minnesota's only national park.
St. Louis County Commissioner Dennis Fink criticized the management plan for not doing more to attract new visitors to the park, which sees about 250,000 people. He said the park should have a marketing plan.
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