Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Minnesota: Scientific, aquatic management areas proposed for Itasca County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking
comments on proposals to establish several scientific and natural
areas (SNAs) and aquatic management areas (AMAs) in Itasca
County.

SNAs are a state land unit, like a state park or wildlife
management area, but with a different emphasis. The purpose of SNAs
is to protect the best of Minnesota’s remaining natural heritage,
like rare species, native prairies, old-growth forests, landforms
and geologic features. Probably the best known example in Itasca
County is the Lost 40 SNA, which features one of the oldest pine
forests in the state. Additional information on scientific and
natural areas may be found at www.mndnr.gov/snas.

AMAs are a state land unit similar to wildlife management areas.
The purpose of AMAs is to protect, develop and manage lakes, rivers
and adjacent wetlands and lands that are critical for fish and
other aquatic life.

The DNR has an opportunity to establish these areas through the
generous donation of the landowner. The areas proposed, location
and a brief description follow:

· Big Too Much Lake SNA (Lot 2 and part of Lot 6 in SW/NE Section
12 of T148N R25W). This parcel is on the northeast side of Big Too
Much Lake and includes about one-quarter mile of lakeshore. It will
protect 86 acres, mostly a mix of old northern hardwood, ash and
spruce forest representative of this landscape.

· Big Too Much Lake AMA (part of Lot 2 in Section 13 of T148N R
25W). This parcel is a one-half acre lot with approximately 139
feet of lakeshore and a dense bulrush bed in the near-shore
area.

· Little Too Much Lake SNA (Lot 1 in Section 24 of T148N R25W, and
Lot 2 in Section 4 of T59N R27W). This 57-acre tract, on the north
side of Little Too Much Lake, includes about 2,600 feet of
shoreline. It will protect old-growth Aspen-Birch-Red Maple forest
and Sugar Maple-Basswood forest.

· Potato Lake SNA (Lot 2 and 3 in Section 7 of T62N R23W). This
84-acre site includes about 250 feet of lakeshore on the east end
of Potato Lake. It offers a rare opportunity to protect a
relatively large patch of old Red Pine-White Pine Woodland without
recent disturbance.

· Eagle Lake AMA (Lot 5 (SW/SW) in Section 5 of T59N R25W). This
parcel, located on the north side of Eagle Lake, covers
approximately 34 acres and includes about 1,000 feet of lakeshore.
The area provides valuable bulrush habitat, riparian wetlands and
an undisturbed forest including large cedars.

· Horseshoe Lake AMA (Lot 9 (SW/SW) in Section 10 of T59N R25W).
This parcel, on the west side of Horseshoe Lake, covers
approximately 26 acres and includes more than 2,400 feet of
shoreline. The property is on a high bluff with densely forested
shoreline that provides valuable aquatic habitat.

SNAs are open to the public for nature observation, education,
scientific research and other non-motorized recreation. In
addition, the DNR is proposing that the SNAs be open to fishing,
hunting, and dogs under control.

The AMAs will be open to fishing, nature observation, education,
scientific research, dogs under control and other non-motorized
recreation. Hunting and trapping will be allowed except on Big Too
Much Lake AMA, which is too small and too close to residences to
support these activities. Consistent with these intended uses and
protection of the sites’ natural features, some activities will not
be allowed on either SNAs or AMAs, including camping, campfires,
motorized vehicles, damaging vegetation, and on SNAs only,
trapping

The DNR is seeking comments from the public on the establishment of
these areas as SNAs or AMAs. If established, an individual
management plan will be developed for each area. The public is
encouraged to provide comments that will help guide the future
management of these areas. Comments will be shared with the Itasca
County Board when they are briefed on these proposals at a future
meeting.

Comments about the proposed SNAs may be sent to Steve Wilson, DNR
SNA Program, 650 Highway 169, Tower, MN, 55790, or email steve.wilson@state.mn.us. Comments on the AMAs may be
sent to Chris Kavanaugh, DNR area fisheries supervisor, 1201 East
Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, or email chris.kavanaugh@state.mn.us. The deadline for
submitting comments is Aug. 28.

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