Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

MN DNR preparing management plan for Federal lands in Red Lake area

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in
conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is starting on
a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for more than
82,000 acres of federal land that the state of Minnesota leases in
the Beltrami Island State Forest and Red Lake Wildlife Management
Area (WMA).

These lands, known as Land Utilization Project (LUP) lands, were
designated as the Beltrami Wildlife Management Area (WMA) by
Executive Order by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1942. The order
designates the area “as a refuge and breeding ground for native
birds and other wildlife and for research relating to wildlife and
associated forest resources.”

These lands contain upland conifer forests, northern hardwood
forests, lowland conifer forests, and wetlands, bogs and
brushlands. Important wildlife species include moose, white-tailed
deer, wolf, ruffed and spruce grouse, short-eared owls, other
irruptive northern forest owls, yellow rails and sandhill
cranes.

The LUP lands consist of widely scattered parcels embedded in
several DNR conservation land units. Most are in the Beltrami
Island State Forest and Red Lake WMA, but some are in Hayes Lake
State Park and three peatland scientific and natural areas
(SNAs).

The scattered nature of the parcels among DNR conservation units
poses some management challenges, as each DNR unit has a different
mission. In addition, many of the LUP parcels are isolated and
unmarked, which creates challenges for managing the public use on
these lands differently than adjacent land parcels.

However, the goals of this planning effort are to improve the
management of these and other state lands by identifying species of
particular concern, deciding how forests and wetlands on the LUP
lands should be managed, and setting a vision for land
consolidation through land exchanges, said Gretchen Mehmel,
manager, Red Lake WMA. Mehmel oversees management of the LUP lands
for the state.

The planning process will begin with scoping Jan. 11 through March
2. The public will have an opportunity to provide input on how
these lands are being used and how they should be managed in the
future.

The process will include three public open
houses:

· Jan. 26, 6-8 pm, Lake-of-the-Woods County Courthouse,
Baudette

· Jan. 27, 6-8 pm, Warroad Community Center

· Feb. 2, 4-8 pm, REI, Bloomington

People have several options for
commenting:

· Fill out a combination questionnaire/comment form at the open
houses

· Download the form from the website at
www.beltramiisland.info

· Send a letter to Mike North, DNR, 1601 Minnesota Drive,
Brainerd, MN 56401

· Send an e-mail to michael.north@state.mn.us.

The second phase of planning will include focus groups to look
more closely at cover habitat management, wildlife management,
public uses, and land management/land exchanges.

After the focus group process is complete, a draft plan with
alternative management scenarios will be developed. The draft plan
and an accompanying environmental assessment are targeted for
public release and review next December or January, with a final
plan likely completed by June 2012.

Citizens can participate in the focus groups and
find out more information by contacting Michael North, project
consultant, at 218-833-8623, at michael.north@state.mn.us or by
visiting the project website at www.beltramiisland.info.

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