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Wildlife area to be expanded

BACKUS — Cass County Board voted Tuesday to endorse a DNR proposal to purchase 4.15 acres and 200 feet of shoreline on Five Mile Point of Leech Lake to expand an existing wildlife management area.

Henry Drewes, DNR northwest region fisheries manager, told the board the site is one of seven known muskie spawning areas on the lake. The new purchase area abuts 26 acres the DNR purchased in 2009.

Leech Lake Watershed Foundation has raised $26,000 toward the purchase to match expected state funding from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and Reinvest in Minnesota programs, Drewes said. Estimated purchase price is $122,800.

He also reported the DNR is considering another 4.2-acre parcel purchase on a bay known as Lost Lake on Otter Tail Point. That site would include 1,700 feet of lakeshore adjacent to a quality panfish and largemouth bass spawning area, he added.

Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson obtained county board approval to submit a trails grant application to the DNR to develop a connection between the Soo Line Trail and Boy River’s proposed new community center. The trail extension would be about 35 to 40 yards long, he said.

Under a 2008 joint powers agreement with the state, Cass will use the lowest of three bids the state obtained for aerial seeding this year. Scott’s Helicopter Service will seed 136 acres in Cass for $7.59 per acre. Other bids the state received ran as high as $18.60 per acre.

The board selected low bidder A & K Contracting as the lower of two bidders to the county to prepare tree planting sites and apply herbicide.

The land department sold $123,737 worth of timber from county land at a March 31 auction. Loggers paid $21.22 per cord for aspen. Maple ($12.96 per cord) and tamarack ($4.43 per cord) sold for the least.  White spruce sold for the most ($46.46 per cord).