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Cass sled, ski trails in good condition

BACKUS — Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson reported to the county board Tuesday that all snowmobile and cross country ski trails are open, being regularly groomed and in good condition.

There is good snow cover on all trails, he said. The last trail still closed by trees blown down in the July 2, 2012, windstorm was opened after bogs froze near Lake Winnibigoshish, enabling heavy equipment to reach an island there in January, Stevenson said.

Lake Country Nordic Ski Club is doing an excellent job of grooming ski trails in its first year, he said, adding he has received no complaints from skiers this winter.

Plans for an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trail near Outing have reached the public comment stage. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expects to notify over 200 neighbors of the trail during this comment period, he said.

Over the Hills Gang ATV Club members plan to maintain the trail if DNR gives the trail grant-in-aid status.

The city of Longville and Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) have reached an agreement to allow Woodtick Wheelers ATV Club to cross Highway 84 with a trail in that city, but not use highway right of way for an ATV trail being designed through and northwest of that city.

Stevenson said he is looking into purchasing some land in the Longville area, so that proposed ATV trail could be routed around County State Aid Highway 5, saving overall trail construction costs.

The county board voted to support the city of Lake Shore’s application for state funds for a multi-use recreational trail being planned through that city.

Stevenson informed the board that 28 logging permits will expire this spring. Because winter access to timber plots has been good this winter with ground freezing well, Stevenson said he does not plan to deviate this year from his standard policy for logging permit extensions.

That policy requires loggers to pay in full their full bid price for the logs, plus a 10 percent of appraised price to extend a log cutting permit. The cutting permit can be extended only twice.

Stevenson said requests for extensions this year relate more to the low market for logs than to weather issues. The county historically only has waived some extension costs when the cause for not completing a logging project on time was due to insufficiently frozen ground to reach the cutting site.

The county board authorized Stevenson to pursue exchanging county land in Crooked Lake, Beulah and Bungo Townships with land the DNR purchased from the Nature Conservancy in North Trelipe Township.

The land the county would give to the state lies within state forest boundaries. The land the county would receive abuts a large existing county-managed area.

Cass will seek special state legislative approval this session to permit selling at public auction a 205-foot lake lot in a residential area on Jack Pine Lake west of Hackensack.

The lot is a tax forfeited parcel. Because it is lakeshore, it cannot be sold without special state legislation.

Cass commissioners authorized Stevenson to solicit bids to expand the land department building parking lot onto a lot the county owns west of that building.