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DNR hearing to focus on Norman County SNA lands

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing to receive comments about the possibility of expanding the allowed recreational activities at two Scientific and Natural Areas in Norman County — the Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA south of Fertile, Minn., and the Sandpiper Prairie SNA west of Twin Valley, Minn.

The hearing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, or until all testimony is received, in the Norman County Courthouse Board Room, 16 E. Third Ave., Ada, Minn.

The hearing regards potential rule changes for the two SNAs that would allow all hunting, trapping and dogs when accompanied by or under the control of their owner; with a requirement that dogs be leashed from April 16 through July 14.

Scientific and Natural Areas are state lands established to preserve natural features and rare resources of exceptional scientific and educational value. The Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA protects a notable example of a sand dune formation. The site also protects dry barrens oak savanna and woodland habitats. Sandpiper Prairie SNA protects dry, wet and mesic prairie habitat. Both sites protect habitat for a number of rare plant and animal species.

A hearing official during Wednesday’s meeting will record all testimony about the new proposed activities at these SNAs, and DNR staff will be on hand to answer questions. Written statements also will be accepted until May 13.

Comments, with the name of the SNA in the subject line, can be emailed to They can also be mailed to SNA Program-EWR Div., DNR Northwest Region Office, 2115 Birchmont Beach Road N.E., Bemidji, MN 56601.

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