Wildlife tourism workshops are being offered statewide to help Minnesota's hospitality industry profit from wildlife tourism.
These wildlife tourism workshops are a cooperative effort involving the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program, Minnesota Office of Tourism, Minnesota Ornithologists' Union, Minnesota Resort Association, Minnesota Hotel and Lodging Association, Minnesota Association of Innkeepers, and the Minnesota Legislative Commission for Minnesota Resources. Major funding is derived from the lottery proceeds to the Environmental Trust Fund. These funds are allocated by the Legislative Commission for Minnesota Resources.
None of the workshops are planned for central Minnesota.
Aitkin County Con-Con
For nearly 70 years, most conversations about the use and management of Consolidated Conservation (Con-Con) lands have been guaranteed to be lively and diverse.
Recent discussions about the future use of the remaining Con-Con lands in Aitkin and Mahnomen counties did not veer far from that trail.
Con-Con lands are state-owned lands that Minnesota received in exchange for paying off ditch bonds issued by seven Minnesota counties in the early 1900s. According to state law, these lands are to be used for "conservation purposes" and are to be designated into management units. Over the last 60 years, nearly three-quarters of these lands have been designated into units such as state forests or wildlife management areas, or sold.
Over the last three months the DNR has been soliciting and collecting public input about proposed designations for the last of the Con-Con lands in Minnesota, most of which are in Aitkin County.
"We have met with each of the county boards, held open houses, and provided time and opportunity for individuals and organizations to give us input," said Wayne Edgerton, DNR Agricultural Policy director, who is heading up the Con-Con project. "As we expected, the comments ranged from 'sell it all' to 'keep it all' and everything in between."
According to Edgerton, the DNR received 24 written comments and many verbal comments at the open houses.
The DNR is currently reviewing and formulating recommendations for designations of these lands, based on the input.
For more information about this project, contact the DNR Information Center. In greater Minnesota call 1-888-MINNDNR; in the Twin Cities call (651) 296-6157.
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