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Minnesota Legislature

New Law: Residents can buy public land parcels

Published (7/15/2011)
By Sue Hegarty
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Residents can volunteer to help maintain wildlife management areas, under a new program administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Effective May 28, 2011, the Minnesota adopt-a-WMA program allows individuals, civic and outdoors groups to work in conjunction with DNR officials to make improvements to WMAs and to receive recognition through posted signage.

Sponsored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau) and Sen. John Carlson (R-Bemidji), the law also includes the addition and deletion of several tracks of public land. State park boundaries will expand for Scenic State Park and William O’Brien State Park. The Hayes Lake State Park boundary will shrink.

Other places where public land will be added include Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area, the Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area and Smoky Hills State Forest. The law stipulates that any revenue generated from mineral rights or leases purchased within the Iron Range OHV Recreation Area, other than Trust Fund land, be deposited into a natural resource fund dedicated account.

A portion of Lost River State Forest in Roseau County will be removed from the state forest and redesignated as land within the Roseau Lake WMA. Several acres of land used as a picnic and playground area bordering Town Lake and the Otter Tail River in Becker County may be sold to a local government, provided it remains open to the public.

Several counties and the DNR have tax-forfeited land for public sale, including Carlton, Cass, Douglas, Itasca, Pine, St. Louis and Stearns. Private sales of public land is also provided for in Becker, Douglas, Itasca, Marshall, Pine, Otter Tail, St. Louis and Watonwan counties. And in Winona County, about 1.4 acres on Alcorn Island along the south side of Interstate 90 will be conveyed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after the Dresbach bridge project is completed. Land sales are effective on or after May 28, 2011.

There is also a provision that permanently validates Dakota County’s reversionary interest in the land deeded to the state for use as the Minnesota Zoo. The agreement is effective when the county board also approves the measure.

HF1230/ SF712*/CH98

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