DULUTH – Permits will now be required for most people to access about 41,000 acres of band-owned land on the Fond du Lac Reservation in northeastern Minnesota.
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa launched the policy Monday as a way to "better manage and conserve its resources," the band said in a statement.
"Over the years, we have seen an enormous amount of stress placed on these fragile ecosystems," said Thomas Howes, the band's natural resources program manager. "Issues such as illegal garbage dumping, ATV traffic and overall growth in population have the potential to take their toll on wildlife and vegetation."
Permits will cost $25 for 30-day access and $100 per year. Access was previously allowed without a permit.
Band members, their spouses and descendants and reservation allotment owners will be granted permits at no charge. Those holding reservation hunting licenses do not need a permit.
The new policy does not change hunting, fishing or trapping rules. The permits do not allow camping or harvesting timber.
"For us, these lands, waters, animals and plants are a source of food and medicine that are intrinsic elements of our way of life, which is why it is so important for us to strike a balance between usage and natural renewal processes," Fond du Lac Band Chairman Kevin DuPuis said in a statement.
The band will begin posting no-trespassing signs on the impacted lands over the next several months. Band members are invited to an informational meeting from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Cloquet Community Center.