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DNR seeks comment on northwest Minnesota aspen parklands project

The Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input as the agency begins a Subsection Forest Resource Management Plan for the aspen parklands area of northwestern Minnesota. The aspen parklands area covers about 2.9 million acres from Gul...

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The Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input as the agency begins a Subsection Forest Resource Management Plan for the aspen parklands area of northwestern Minnesota. The aspen parklands area covers about 2.9 million acres from Gully in the southeast, Roseau in the northeast, Lancaster in the northwest and Crookston in the southwest.

"The plan will provide strategic direction for vegetation management for the aspen parklands," said Pat Matuseski, DNR forest planner, Bemidji. "It will also identify harvestable timber stands and outline harvest levels for the next decade."

Most of the land in the aspen parklands area is used for recreation and agriculture. The state manages about 355,000 acres, or 12 percent. The federal government owns about 68,000 acres (2 percent), and private owners control about 2.4 million acres, or 83 percent. There is no industrial forest land in this subsection.

The management plan process includes two public comment periods. The first comment period began Tuesday and continues through Sept. 30. The goal is to gather input on the forest inventory, issues that should be covered in the plan and on concerns stakeholders have for forestlands, brush lands and prairie in the subsection.

After the initial public comment period, the planning team will produce a "strategic direction" document that addresses issues and provides a draft list of forest stands for possible harvest. The DNR also will seek public comment on that draft plan, with the goal of implementing a plan in 2010.

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Preliminary data and a draft list of issues are available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/foresty/subsection/aspenparklands/index.html .

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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