WALKER – Cass County Board Tuesday approved an agreement for the land department to lease two drags, a snowmobile and a trailer to Lake Country Nordic Ski Club for five years at no cost to the club.
Minnesota DNR will pay the county up to $9,300 from grant-in-aid ski permits sold to people using grant-in-aid trails. The county will use that fund to pay the club after their 501(c) non-profit status is approved for miles of trail club members groom when there is snow on the ground.
The county has conveyed state grant-in-aid trail money to volunteer snowmobile clubs for many years, also under a system of reimbursing the clubs for their grooming services. Today, most snowmobile clubs own and maintain their own grooming equipment, because snowmobiling qualifies for some gas tax and snowmobile licensing fee receipts. Snowmobile clubs have existed many years. The ski club is newly forming.
Woodtick Wheelers, based north and east of Hackensack, have become the second group the county board authorized to apply to the DNR after a group at Outing to seek grant-in-aid trail designation for an all terrain vehicle state-funded trail route.
Tuesday, the board approved Woodtick Wheelers’ application to the DNR for the first segment of their proposed trail system. It would run from Longville to Whipholt, primarily along existing trails that are open to ATVs, according to Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson.
Last winter, Cass County Land Department was able to obtain two snowmobiles from Arctic Cat without charge to the county for the sheriff’s office to use to patrol trails. That free offer was withdrawn this winter season.
Tuesday, the commissioners authorized the sheriff’s department to lease from Bemidji Sports two used Artic Cat machines for a total of $2,200 for the winter season. The land department will pay for the leases and can spend up to $800 to purchase trailer hitches, equipment covers and other accessory needs.
County Surveyor Bob Kovanen and Stevenson reported contracting surveyors are close to finishing a countywide project to re-locate all 135 township survey corners. Kovanen said an additional 65 incidental corners also have been located during the new surveys, giving the county about 200 survey reference points that now have GPS coordinates.
Now that most of the corners have been located, Stevenson told the county board he is finding land department costs to survey county property lines preliminary to logging sales has dropped.
The next step of this project will be for the county to develop a way to make the corner information readily available to the public and all surveyors doing work in the county, hopefully resulting in lower survey costs for private property owners.
The commissioners recognized Jerry Lamon, who will retire Dec. 31 after 32 years as a Cass County forest resource manager. He has worked under four land commissioners during that time. He said he plans to do some work at Deep Portage Conservation Reserve in his retirement.
The board voted to support proposed changes to state legislation that would allow the state to exchange school trust land for land local governments now hold, so that ownerships can be more appropriately consolidate and more efficiently managed.
Stevenson said Sections 16 and 32 of each township originally were designated to be held by the state in a trust for schools. Currently, this often means county and state timber managers are working in the same area at the same time instead of one or the other managing the whole area.
“Green (state) trucks are meeting white (county) trucks on the same logging trails,” Stevenson said, adding this does not make good economic sense.