It’s been a very busy week!
CUYUNA COUNTRY STATE RECREATION AREA
The Minnesota House of Representatives Capital Investment Committee visited the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA) on Thursday. They spent a morning learning about a regional bonding request of $4.2 million for expansion of the mountain bike trail system within the rec area.
The committee visited the Miners Mountain Rally Center and the Yawkey Unit, where they choose either a tour of the mountain bike trails or the Department of Natural Resources’ yurts. The project would expand and develop new trails within the system. This would increase the opportunity from one day of riding to three days, as well as allow the system to support everyone from beginners to expert riders.
Rep. Josh Heintzeman. R-Nisswa, Minnesota DNR officials, Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew President Aaron Hautala and many members of the community welcomed the group and provided an excellent presentation on how this facility can be upgraded to better serve both our local population and visitors to our area. I want to extend my thanks to all for doing a great job of presenting our proposal.
MILLE LACS LAKE WALLEYE FISHERY UPDATE
At the same time as the CCSRA event, Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, and I were participating in the third meeting of the Mille Lacs Lake Working Group in St. Paul. State agencies again provided more general information, but specifics where lacking with respect to future fishing seasons and how to restore the walleye fishery.
A decision on the winter ice fishing season cannot be made until at least mid to late October. Officials from the DNR indicated they could collect eggs and hatch them to support a short-term stocking effort. They also proposed building a research and outreach center in conjunction with a hatchery at an estimated cost of $3.2 million dollars, with an annual operating cost of $300,000 per year.
The DNR offered a number of other suggestions, all of which have been previously recommended to them by the local citizens Mille Lacs Lake input group many times in the pat. However, no comprehensive plan was evident.
The working group co-chairs adjourned with no future meeting date scheduled and requested that prior to meeting again the governor and agencies prepare specific proposals on both the economic aid package and how the fishery will be restored.
I was not pleased with the outcome, and made it clear to all 18 other members of the working group that continuing to delay resolving the fishery issue has to end. This issue will continue to be at the top of my list. This is a man-caused problem and I remain optimistic we can remedy it.