Will snowmobilers and hikers be shut out from Northeast forest
September 28, 2012 — 3:23pm
One of the state’s largest private landowners is playing hardball in a tax dispute, now threatening to lock up his property, a playground for hunters, hikers, and snowmobile riders in Northeast Minnesota.
Molpus Woodlands Group of Jackson, Miss., has erected about 16 gates across roads in Koochiching and St. Louis counties, promising to seal off most motorized travel on hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails and back roads leading to private cabins and hunting outposts. The company puchased 286,000 acres of Minnesota forest last summer.
"There's county land all over the place, and state land and federal lands, that would be affected,'' Koochiching County Board Chairman Brian McBride told the Star Tribune. "We're talking about thousands and thousands of acres and miles and miles of trails and roads.''
The company is upset about a change in the state’s Sustainable Forestry Incentives that capped payouts to individual landowners at $100,000 annually. The change cost the company about $2 million a year, so it sued. Read the full story.