Nearly 30 people in Crow Wing County have expressed interest in serving on the parks committee.
The Crow Wing County Board said Tuesday it planned to decide how many people will be on the committee and its purpose at the next county board meeting Feb. 27. Commissioners needed more time to look over the names on the list and applicants' backgrounds.
"We want to have some type of balance," said Ed Larsen, board chairman. "There are a lot of diverse opinions on the parks and recreational division."
One of the committee's main purposes will be to recommend to the county board how to set up a parks and recreational area on county tax-forfeited lands. The idea of this committee was recommended to the county board when the county management plan for tax-forfeited lands was approved earlier this year. The main concern residents had about this plan was the way trails would be posted as either open or closed to all-terrain vehicles.
The management plan defines the park committee duties as: Members will evaluate sites for potential designation and development as official parks, boat accesses, river landings or forest recreation areas; prepare a preliminary official map showing designated parks and forest recreational areas; devise a recommended organizational structure to provide administrative and public advisory guidance for the development and ongoing administration of the proposed county parks and recreation system; and to prepare a proposed schedule for implementation of the proposed parks and recreational system.
The county board would like to have the committee structured to deal with recreational activities and where they will fit with the rest of the land management activity. Commissioners also want to change the name of the committee so it will fit better with the committee's task when it is determined.
Larsen said the committee may have about 10-15 people on it. He said having between eight to 10 people on a committee is ideal for committee size in the county. Each commissioner will select one person to serve on the committee and run it by the rest of the board this month.
Of the 30 people who applied to sit on this committee, a majority are men -- only four were women. About one-third of the candidates are from Brainerd and the rest are a mix of Baxter, Pine River, Pequot Lakes, Nisswa, Crosby, Deerwood and Manhattan Beach residents.
Thomas Cowell, county land commissioner, said of the 30 who applied, he knows six who are for non-motorized vehicles on trails and two who were on the opposing side.
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