CROSSLAKE -- The Twin Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America hopes to preserve Camp Cuyuna, a beloved, pristine Scout camp near here, through a partnership with the DNR.
The Scout Council will use proceeds from a sale of a portion of Camp Cuyuna to the DNR to reduce debt that resulted from construction of the Center for Scouting in Mankato and to fund renovations to camp buildings and infrastructure. The DNR will partially fund the purchase with a combination of Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund, Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) and the Critical Habitat License Plate funding.
RIM and Critical Habitat License Plate programs provide a dollar-for-dollar match with money raised by the Scout Council and donated by the public. The Scout Council must raise about $600,000 for its half of the partnership. The appraised value of the 163-acre site is expected to well exceed $1 million.
"It would be easier to just sell the land outright to a private developer," said Mike Karp, Scout Council representative, "but the Scouts have an obligation to preserve the area, not only for our youth, but for the greater society as well. Transferring stewardship of the land to the DNR is in keeping with deep rooted Scouting ethics. Our partnership will protect the land and uphold the principles of conservation that epitomize the ideals of Scouting. The best part is that the Scouts will maintain day use access to the property."
The wooded parcel, which includes 1.3 miles of shoreline on Pickerel Lake and 0.6 miles of shoreline on Grass Lake, will be managed as an Aquatic Management Area (AMA), open to the public for day use, except hunting with firearms, said Mike Halverson, DNR fisheries habitat and development consultant.
"This parcel is one of the few remaining large land holdings in the Brainerd lakes area that continues to be in a natural state," Halverson said. "The sale and future residential development of the Camp Cuyuna property would result in a permanent loss of habitat and shoreline protection on lakes within its boundaries."
The agreement will allow the scouts to keep fee title to a 13-acre site with a family campsite on Pickerel Lake. A permanent easement on the campsite will be included that limits future development and gives the DNR right-of-first-refusal if the Scouts stop using the camp.
AMAs, modeled after Wildlife Management Areas, are purchased from willing sellers to protect the environmentally vital shoreline and littoral (shallow water) edge of lakes, streams and rivers. The focus of AMA acquisitions is protection of critical spawning, nesting, rearing and feeding areas.
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