Camp Ripley is working to protect the land bordering its training facility, by encouraging a buffer area, in order to maintain the future viability of its mission.
Lt. Col. Richard Weaver, Camp Ripley post commander, and Marty Skoglund, Camp Ripley environmental supervisor, asked the Crow Wing County Board Tuesday to support its proposed program to protect land. The county board unanimously offered its support of this program.
Weaver said Camp Ripley already has formed a partnership with the DNR and The Nature Conservancy to conserve critical natural resources while protecting land bordering Camp Ripley. Weaver said with the increased military activities around the globe it is important to ensure adequate training capabilities.
Camp Ripley is proposing an Army Compatible Use Buffer program, which is a compatible land use program. The program identifies priority areas within a land buffer adjacent to land owned by Camp Ripley. Property bordering Camp Ripley includes 11 miles of land in Crow Wing County, 47 miles in Morrison County and eight miles in Cass County.
Skoglund said as part of this program property owners with land adjacent to Camp Ripley have the option to participate in the voluntary program to protect their land from being developed.
As part of the program, Weaver said a landowner would have an option to sell development rights to their land to use as a buffer, while the landowner continues to own the land. The Nature Conservancy or the DNR would have the development rights.
Weaver said they want to obtain land acquisition near Camp Ripley for natural resource conservation purposes to help mitigate encroaching development at the Camp Ripley military training site. He said it also would allow open space for residents.
Skoglund said Camp Ripley's strategies relating to the land use program are to accommodate future missions without expanding its boundaries and to have willing landowners participate.
Skoglund said the National Guard Bureau has approved the program and the U.S. Army will review the program in February. Once the program is approved, it will allow Camp Ripley to secure funding.
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