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Reader Opinion: Importance of public timberland

I was dismayed to read in last week's Dispatch that despite some support from commissioners, our county board decided not to sponsor the acquisition of 80 acres of forest land, formerly owned by Potlatch, by the Minnesota Department of Natural Re...

I was dismayed to read in last week's Dispatch that despite some support from commissioners, our county board decided not to sponsor the acquisition of 80 acres of forest land, formerly owned by Potlatch, by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy. It seems that the "in lieu of tax" payments to our county, from the DNR budget, would be $1,183, while the tax burden on Potlatch had been $1,236. So, for the measly amount of $53, these wild lands would be lost public use and appreciation and for hunting, as well as wildlife habitat. I would gladly pay this amount to allow better forest management and more good habitat for our game and nongame wildlife species, and I am sure other Crow Wing County residents might feel similarly!

The potential of the county purchasing such land or similar tracts also was raised. Such commercial speculation seems not to be in the best interests of our citizens of today or tomorrow. Crow Wing County is endowed with natural resources unmatched by any other county. As Forest Supervisor Joel Lemberg noted, prevention of forest fragmentation is the key to a best management practices for lands and wildlife. Hopefully the board of commissioners will soon have another look at the opportunity, and OK this addition to valuable lands. Remember: the government does not own public lands, you do!

Steve Quinn

Brainerd

Related Topics: CROW WING COUNTY BOARD
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