A second informal public information and input meeting is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at Central Lakes College, Room C223, in Brainerd regarding the Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment, and more specifically, the Outdoor Heritage Fund.
According to an e-mail from Gary Drotts, DNR wildlife manager in Brainerd, the plan is "to discuss more specific details and types and sites for potential projects. Specifically, we will have lists and maps available for possible forest land ownership/fragmentation protection (i.e. acquisition or conservation easements of Potlatch land, state Wildlife Management Areas, county forest lands), lake/wetland protection (aquatic or Wildlife Management Areas) and other possible joint projects that may involve parks and/or trails.
"This will be the chance for the public to provide input on these sites and list other sites that we may have missed. Not sure yet if and how projects could get approved, but we need a list ready for when that moment comes."
About 40 people - 25 area residents and 15 resources types, according to Drotts - braved the snow and cold to attend the first meeting in late December at Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. Input from such meetings could help determine how a new outdoors council will decide to spend approximately $80 million annually after the amendment passed in the November elections.
According to a letter sent to attendees of the first meeting, "The intent of the meeting was to try to identify mission overlap between all the outdoor interests represented in central Minnesota. We hope, with your help, to develop projects that include something for everyone - a pretty lofty goal. Once developed, these projects will be submitted for consideration to various outdoor stakeholder groups or directly to the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council, which recommends funding for these types of projects. Remember, other processes/councils will review and recommend funding for clean water, parks, trails and the arts.
"As we stated at the (first) meeting, we were not expecting a project(s) to emerge from the meeting, but rather the start of a conversation. We hope to continue that conversation and to refine our project vision through the distribution of this meeting packet."
The Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council must recommend to the Legislature how to spend money allotted to the fund. If that deadline isn't met, control of the funding will be reverted back to the Legislature.
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