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Progress made in effort to resolve decades-old dispute in BWCA

Boundary Waters sign
Boundary Waters sign

A multi-year effort is underway between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Office of School Trust Lands, the U.S. Forest Service and The Conservation Fund that will significantly expand revenue for Minnesota’s 337 public school districts and eliminate the patchwork ownership within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Ultimately, the project will secure more than 40,000 acres for sustainable timber harvesting and increased School Trust revenue, while protecting 50,000 acres within Superior National Forest’s BWCAW for enhanced hiking, canoeing, camping and fishing opportunities.

The Conservation Fund’s recent purchase of 8,000 acres of forestland initiates the first phase of this effort.

“This is essentially the beginning of a new era when the state’s public schools will be able to finally obtain financial support from what was previously a non-performing asset,” said Steve Hobbs, Minnesota State Director for The Conservation Fund. “Additionally, the Boundary Waters, so treasured by Minnesotans, will no longer have scattered and unprotected land and waters that threaten its integrity as one of the world’s last great wild places.”

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Hobbs about the recent announcement from the Conservation Fund.