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Sale of 18 land parcels in Cass County approved

WALKER – Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson obtained county board approval Tuesday to advertise 18 non-conservation land parcels for sale to the public at a 9 a.m. June 23 auction at the courthouse in Walker.

Bidders must submit bids at or above appraised values. Those values range between $400 for a city lot in Bena to $60,000 for a 40-acre tract in McKinley Township. Locations and values for these lots can be viewed on the county website after May 11.

Stevenson told the county board the values reflect recent sales on neighboring properties and are at or slightly above assessing department appraisals. He told the board he does not want to drive down private property values by offering county land at a lower price than he believes real land values to be.

The board selected the lower of two bids received to burn 105 acres of prairie in Section 9 of McKinley Township to enable the county to maintain a native grass prairie in an area where the county has encouraged a prairie chicken population.

Minnesota Native Landscapes will conduct the burn for $3,675. They must bulldoze a perimeter buffer between the burn area and neighboring properties before they can do the burn, Stevenson told the board.

The firm conducting the burn also will be responsible for any damages if the fire escapes the prescribed burn area, Stevenson said.

The board authorized Stevenson to have the state hand-seed oak tree acorns in the Mud Goose Wildlife Management Area just north of the Leech River in Unorganized Township. Timber was harvested recently on this site.

Scott’s Helicopter was the lowest of two bidders the state selected to do tree seeding from the air. Cass will use that service under a 2008 cooperative agreement with the state to seed 113 acres of county land in other areas of the county this summer.

That seeding will be white and red pine, balsam fir and white spruce. It will be applied on nine sites in Shingobee, Hiram, Powers, Trelipe, Thunder Lake and Inguadona Townships.

Stevenson said he has had better luck with seeded trees surviving deer browsing than the areas where the land department has had young seedling trees hand planted.

Additionally, aerial seeding costs a third as much as planting seedlings, so if deer do eat those seedlings, the area can be re-seeded at a cost still below that of hand planting seedlings.

“There clearly are areas of the county with heavy deer populations, though, where re-planting trees using any method is a challenge after an area is logged,” he said.

Infrared Baron was the lowest of three bidders to provide aerial photographs for the county. The bid also covers a portion of Crow Wing County. Cost for Cass will be $23,364. Cost for Crow Wing will be $9,364.

Cass land department will hire two survey firms to identify boundaries of property the county owns and manages prior to advertising the four sites for timber cutting. These bidders were the lowest of eight.

Kohout Surveying will survey three sites, one each in Pine River, Wilson and Moose Lake Townships, for a total of $16,800. Kramer, Leas, Deleo will survey one site in Bull Moose township for $17,150.