The annual list of potential timber harvest sites on state-administered forest land is now available for public review, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Comments will be accepted until June 22.
The list of potential harvest sites is for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2017.
DNR field staff will examine 2,700 forest stands on nearly 60,000 acres for potential timber sales during the year. The DNR estimates that 45,000 of the 60,000 acres of forest land will be suitable for timber sales.
“If you have a house, cabin or favorite recreation spot near state forest land, you can check the list of potential timber harvests, see what is planned nearby and provide input,” said Jon Nelson, DNR forest planning supervisor.
There are two ways for the public to provide input—online or discuss it in person with a local forester. Forest stand locations and descriptions, along with their proposed management, are on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/harvesting/plans.html. Use the map to zoom into an area of interest and then comment within the map details for each potential harvest site.
Those without Internet access or who prefer to review and discuss the site list directly with a forester, may contact or visit their local DNR area forestry office. Contact the office prior to a visit to ensure the appropriate forestry staff will be available.
The DNR administers 5 million acres of forest lands that have been certified as being well- managed by two separate third-party auditing systems. Annual lists of potential timber harvest sites are derived from multi-year forest management plans for state lands. The plans are developed by interdisciplinary DNR planning teams with public input, and based on long-term forest resource management goals.
For statewide timber harvest information, contact Jon Nelson, DNR Forestry, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4044; 651-259-5278; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heading into the first major holiday weekend of 2016, Minnesota state parks have already seen a record number of visitors. Compared with 2015, year-to-date sales of one-day permits are up 41 percent, sales of year-round permits are up 24 percent and overnight stays are up 39 percent.
For anyone looking for a holiday adventure, there are still campsites available in select state parks for Memorial Day weekend. New this spring, though, all campsites at Minnesota state parks must be reserved in advance—ideally online, from home, so that you “know before you go” that the site is yours. Previously, up to 30 percent of the sites at each park were “unreservable” and available only on a first-come, first-served basis.
“State parks are a great destination for family vacations, and we wanted to make it easier for families to plan their visits,” said Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “Families with young kids told us they wouldn’t drive to a state park without knowing for sure they would have someplace to park their camper or set up their tent. In response to their feedback, we eliminated the first-come, first-served sites and made all campsites reservable at 17 state parks in 2014 and 2015. The response from visitors was overwhelmingly positive, so we expanded the service statewide.”
The DNR wants to make sure anyone planning to visit a state park over Memorial Day weekend is aware of these other recent customer-service improvements:
- Same-day reservations are now available, and with no reservation fee.
- Vehicle permits can be purchased in advance, online or by phone.
- If you arrive at a park without a reservation, visit the reservations page to check availability and make a reservation. Soon, many parks will also have self-service stations with courtesy phones that can be used to make same-day reservations.
- Those who already have their vehicle permit and reservations when they arrive at the park do not need to stop and check in at the office, where the lines can be long on holiday weekends.
To see which parks still have campsites open for Memorial Day weekend, visit the reservations page. To see a complete list of the sites available statewide, select “Camping & Lodging,” click the green “Search All Parks” box, and then enter your desired arrival date (i.e. Friday, May 27).
The Parks and Trails Division at the Department of Natural Resources is beginning the process of creating a master plan to guide future development and operations at St. Croix State Park.
Anyone interested in learning more about the state park and providing input for the master plan can attend an open house in the interpretive/visitor center near the park’s campground Thursday, June 16, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The master plan will set the direction for the park for the next 15 to 20 years. It will include recommendations for managing natural and cultural resources and providing recreational and interpretative opportunities to park visitors.
St. Croix State Park, established in 1943, is the largest Minnesota state park, with more than 34,000 acres of forests, prairie, wetlands and river shoreline. With many of its buildings and other facilities designed by the National Park Service and built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the park has been designated a National Historic Landmark. After a 2011 windstorm caused significant damage, the park has been the focus of numerous restoration efforts.
The park has miles of trails for hikers, horseback riders, bicyclists, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. Visitors can canoe, boat and fish on the St. Croix River – a National Scenic Riverway – and on the Kettle River, a State Wild and Scenic River. For overnight visitors, there are three campgrounds, a horse campground, group camps, cabins and three modern group centers. The park also has a picnic area, a swimming beach and a fire tower that visitors can climb for a panoramic view of the surrounding area. The Matthew Lourey State Trail, which winds through the park, is open to hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and snowmobiling.
More than 272,000 people visited St. Croix State Park in 2015 (making it Minnesota’s 10th most visited state park) and more than 40,500 of them stayed overnight.
The park is located 20 miles east of Hinckley on state Highway 48. For information, visit the park page.
For information about the open house or management plan, contact Jade Templin, principal planner, 651-259-5598 or email@example.com.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone to be safe with campfires this Memorial Day weekend and into the summer.
“Spending time with family and friends around a campfire is a popular Minnesota tradition,” said Linda Gormanson, DNR wildfire prevention supervisor. “You can take simple measures to make your campfire safe.”
Gormanson recommends all campfires should be:
- Clear of any burnable material 5 feet in all directions around the fire.
- Built within a designated fire ring 3 feet or less in diameter.
- Kept to 3 feet or less in height.
- Legal—check if to see if local municipality requires a permit.
For people who don’t have a campsite with a designated fire ring, select a safe place for the campfire. Choose a level area away from dry grass, shrubs or logs that is free of overhanging branches. Then scoop out a depression in the center of the area and put a ring of rocks around it.
An adult should attend the fire at all times – even a light breeze can cause the fire to spread. Always have a shovel and water available at the campfire to extinguish it. Stir the embers repeatedly with water or dirt until every ember is out cold.
Discover more by visiting Smokey Bear’s campfire safety website.
With warmer weather and the end of the school year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds teachers and hobbyists it is illegal to release aquarium animals and plants into the wild. One example commonly found in classrooms, the red swamp crayfish is causing major environmental and economic harm as nearby as Wisconsin.
“Teachers and hobbyists may not be aware that dozens of aquarium animals and plants are prohibited or regulated invasive species that can cause serious harm if released into the wild,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “The red swamp crayfish is a good example of a prohibited species that some online retailers ship to unsuspecting teachers or to people hosting ‘crawfish boils.’ A special permit is required to import crayfish for any purpose, and without a permit it is illegal to buy or possess red swamp crayfish in Minnesota.”
Prohibited species cannot legally be possessed, released into the wild, or transferred to others. The recommended and most humane method of disposing of them is to put them in a plastic bag in the freezer for a day, then put the bag into the trash. “We recommend teachers check the prohibited invasive species list before committing to classroom aquarium animals,” Wolf said. “We also encourage teachers to discuss invasive species with their students.”
Examples of prohibited and regulated species include goldfish and koi (which are types of carp), rusty crayfish, red swamp crayfish, Chinese and banded mystery snails, and many aquatic plants. DNR staff recently found these invasive aquarium species in Minnesota waters: piranha, koi, goldfish, yellow iris, Amazonian catfish, and even a cayman, a type of alligator.
More information about prohibited and regulated species and what to do with them is available at on the Web page about invasives laws.
Anyone with a 2016 Minnesota hunting or fishing license can receive a special offer on tickets to select St. Paul Saints games by visiting the deal Web page, through a partnership between the Saints and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Sharing the passion of hunting and fishing with friends is a great time together,” said Jenifer Wical, DNR outreach section. “As a hunting or fishing license holder, you are also making an investment in the management of fish and wildlife populations and their habitat in Minnesota. As a thank you, we’ve teamed with the St. Paul Saints on this offer that includes a Saints logo hat as a gift to license holders to select home games.”
Games included in the offer are at CHS Field from May through August. This month, they are 7:05 p.m. Friday, May 27 and 7:05 p.m. Saturday, May 28. Tickets are $20 for reserved outfield seating.
Due to high demand, seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis only, and the offer is good for advance purchases only. Phone orders cannot be accepted. Only orders purchased together will be seated together. Game times are subject to change, and there are no refunds or exchanges.
Buy licenses at any DNR license agent, online with a mobile or desktop device on the buy a license page, or by phone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers.