The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that it received a 2,529-acre land donation from Trust for Public Land. The donated land, roughly four-square miles of rolling hills of forests, lakes, ponds and wetlands near Park Rapids, will be managed by the Minnesota DNR as part of Paul Bunyan State Forest. The parcel currently includes a portion of the Scout Trail, a pre-existing Grant-in-Aid snowmobile trail, and will eventually offer many other recreation opportunities.
Established in 1994, National Public Lands Day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the partners and volunteers who support our public lands.
“The addition of this land to the Paul Bunyan State Forest was five years in the making and is a great example of the success that happens when people dedicated to conservation work in partnership,” Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “This forested public land will have numerous environmental, economic, and recreational benefits for Minnesota. We’re grateful for the partnership with Trust for Public Lands and look forward to our continuing conservation work together.”
Previously owned by PotlatchDeltic, this parcel is surrounded by public land owned by Hubbard County. Continued stewardship of these lands as working forest maintains its ability to store carbon and provide benefits for generations to come.
“This parcel is one of the largest remaining blocks of private forest in the entire state. Keeping this forestland intact will not only allow residents around Hubbard County to enjoy expanded recreational opportunities, but it will also protect water quality for people and wildlife alike,” said Sophie Vorhoff, Minnesota State Director for TPL. “We’re proud to have the support of DNR and are excited to see this space benefit residents for years to come.”
The project is part of TPL’s Mississippi Headwaters Program, an effort to protect and preserve sensitive shoreline throughout the headwaters region, in partnership with the Mississippi Headwaters Board and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. TPL purchased the land from the Conservation Fund using funding from the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund. More information about TPL and its mission can be found on the organization’s website.
Minnesota celebrates Hunting and Fishing Day, National Public Lands Day, and Take a Kid Hunting Weekend
Gov. Tim Walz has proclaimed Saturday, Sept. 23 as Hunting and Fishing Day in Minnesota, coinciding with National Public Lands Day and Take a Kid Hunting Weekend. This trifecta highlights the state’s hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities, as well as the environmental and economic benefits of Minnesota’s public lands and waters.
“Minnesota has a rich tradition of hunting and angling woven into the cultural fabric of the state, offering opportunities to connect with the outdoors and provide food security, self-sufficiency, and both mental and physical health benefits” reads the proclamation issued by Gov. Walz.
Last year, Minnesota’s nearly 2 million licensed hunters and anglers generated tens of millions of dollars to support the conservation efforts of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which manages the state’s 5.6 million acres of public land.
“Hunters and anglers play an invaluable role in our economy and to ensuring the preservation of our public lands for future generations,” Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “I’m grateful for their strong and enduring commitment to the outdoors and glad there is a day set aside to celebrate hunters, anglers, and our natural heritage.”
National Hunting and Fishing Day was established in 1972 by President Richard Nixon to promote outdoor sports and conservation. Take a Kid Hunting Weekend, established in 1990 by the Minnesota Legislature, encourages adults to share our hunting heritage with younger generations. National Public Lands Day, created in 1994, is the largest single-day volunteer effort to restore and enhance public lands. Together, these three special events highlight the connection between Minnesotans, the state’s outdoor recreation opportunities industry and the preservation of public lands.
Minnesota’s public lands not only offer excellent hunting and fishing opportunities but also provide clean water; carbon storage; habitat for wildlife; protection of rare plants, animals, cultural resources, and geological features; and affordable access to many forms of outdoor recreation. Moreover, these lands help fuel Minnesota’s $9.9 billion outdoor recreation economy, which comprises 2.4% of the state’s GDP and supports more than 91,000 jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Those who want to spend Hunting and Fishing Day and National Public Lands Day on some of Minnesota’s public lands can choose from 75 state parks and recreation areas, 60 state forests, 1,500 wildlife management areas, and 700 aquatic management areas.
During Take a Kid Hunting Weekend, Sept. 23-24, adult Minnesota residents accompanied by a youth younger than 16 can hunt small game without a license but must comply with open seasons, limits and other regulations found in the Minnesota hunting regulations. This year, the Minnesota DNR encourages adults who participate in Take a Kid Hunting Weekend to take Pheasants Forever’s Hunter Mentor Pledge. By taking the pledge and submitting a picture or short video of the hunting trip, individuals will be to be entered to win a guided bobwhite quail hunt for two, along with other prizes.
For more information about hunting in Minnesota, go to the Minnesota DNR’s hunting and trapping webpage. For information about fishing, see the Minnesota DNR’s fishing webpage, and for information about how the Minnesota DNR manages the state’s public lands, go to the Minnesota DNR’s state-managed public lands webpage.