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Cass County Board: Regional DNR officer addresses commissioners

WALKER--Rita Albrecht, northwest regional director for Minnesota DNR, informed Cass County Board members Tuesday about some of the DNR's current activities.

WALKER-Rita Albrecht, northwest regional director for Minnesota DNR, informed Cass County Board members Tuesday about some of the DNR's current activities.

That DNR region covers 23 counties from Cass west to the North Dakota border and north to the Canadian border.

Albrecht said the DNR is making an effort to create new wildlife management areas by selling some of its smaller land tracts to public, then using that money to buy new sites connected to existing state land.

The agency also seeks sensitive habitat areas for entirely new management sites.

DNR trades some land parcels with counties, also to consolidate holdings, she said.

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North central and northeastern Minnesota counties have the largest share of public land. The following public land percents do not include any area covered by water.

Cook and Lake counties are 83 percent public land, Albrecht showed on a state map. The state owns 13 percent and 14 percent, respectively of public land in them.

Koochiching County has 75 percent public land, with 54 percent of that being state owned. St. Louis County is 58 percent public land, with 13 percent of that state owned.

Cass and Aitkin counties are 51 percent public land, with 13 percent state owned in Cass and 31 percent state owned in Aitkin. Itasca County is 50 percent public land, with 17 percent state owned.

Crow Wing and eight other northern counties have 20 to 42 percent public ownership. In Crow Wing County, there is 22 percent public land, with 6 percent of that being state owned.

All other counties in Minnesota have under 20 percent public ownership.

Minnesota DNR will hold a public hearing to receive comments from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 26 at Walker Community Center on the proposed management plan for a new state site at Camp Lake in Trelipe Township, Albrecht noted.

She also said the DNR's current logging rate is about at the maximum it can be and still remain a sustainable harvest for regeneration.

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For this reason, she said, the DNR encourages private landowners to consider logging some of their land. Any property owner can obtain a free on-site DNR estimate of the value of timber on their land, she added.

This spring, the DNR sold 16 of 18 parcels offered for auction to loggers. A 17th site sold following the auction, according to Albrecht.

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