DNR: Land Transaction in Lake County Will Protect Working Forest

By KBJR News 1

Credit: MN DNR

Map of the acres of forest that are part of the easement.

March 7, 2013 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 10:28 AM CDT

Lake County, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A new 10,581 acre conservation easement in Lake County will boost Minnesota's role as a national leader in protecting forests, according to the Minnesota DNR.

The DNR and Marlow Timberland, a privately-held timberland holding company in Duluth, recently reached agreement on the easement, which stays in place permanently.

The agreement requires public access to the land for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.

While Marlow Timberland maintains ownership of the land, the company must manage it using sustainable forest management methods. The forest land contains diverse, northern forest types and wetlands with nearly one mile of shoreline on three lakes and almost nine miles of stream and river miles.

“Fragmentation of Minnesota’s north woods is one of the most significant threats to wildlife, especially species that need large blocks of forest such as moose, bears, wolves and many neotropical migratory songbirds,” said Forrest Boe, DNR Forestry Division director. “This project will keep the land intact so that it continues to provide essential habitat for wildlife.”

Conservation easements protect millions of acres of wildlife habitat and open space throughout the U.S., and are an important tool in keeping working forests as forest land, according to the DNR.

“The conservation easement the state has undertaken with Marlow Timberland is a great investment in Minnesota’s future,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “They will maintain access for hunting and fishing and other outdoor pursuits, while guaranteeing that lands remain available for timber harvest.”

Marlow Timberland is the fourth largest owner of forest lands in northern Minnesota, with a focus on long-term preservation of natural resources.

“For more than five years, we have been working with the Minnesota DNR, U.S. Forest Service and Lake County Land Department, as well as other private interests, to find the ultimate compromise to allow responsible economic benefits while securing the long-term health and integrity of these parcels of land,” said Roy Marlow, CEO of Marlow Timberland. “Portions of the eased property are located in the heart of one of the most pristine areas of the Superior National Forest.”

The $5.67 million transaction was made possible through funds provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008, which increased sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent.

The fund receives some of the tax money. Additional funding came from state capital bonding and Reinvest in Minnesota.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns