Written by Barry Babcock (originally shared on Facebook)

If you live in, are from, or care about Minnesota's public lands and wildlife: ALERT!!!

Please take the time to read this message. It is important.

Minnesota's Willdlife Management Areas (WMA's) comprise the largest WMA systems in the nation (approximately 1 1/2 million acres) and have long been regarded by the DNR as their "crown jewel."

These areas were created and set aside by far-sighted wildlife managers for wildlife habitat. These lands are funded through small game hunting license proceeds, matching federal Pittman/Robertson funds and dedicated dollars from the MN state lottery. There are no dedicated funds from any other accounts such as OHV trails, or any other. Nor does the timber industry have any role or place in this program. These are our lands, not corporate lands.

You may recall during the Landwehr years during the Dayton administration, Tom Landwehr upped the the amount of stumpage that would be logged in our state; A quote from former Commissioner Landwehr that appeared in the paper "We had good representation from our stakeholder advisory group from the forest product industry," DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in a teleconference on the subject Thursday. "I think it was across the spectrum from small businesses to the larger mills."  Now WMA's are in the cross hairs!

Landwehr's remarks do not pass the smell test. This is an overt move to hand over even more board feet to industry at the detriment of a healthy habitat for all native species, including song birds, reptiles, amphibians, plants, rare or threatened species. Now the DNR is going to spread this log, log, log to WMA's!

Don't get me wrong, I am not totally against logging as in some respects, it is what we have sacrificed in order to have one of the largest public land bases in the nation and when done right is a sustainable resource and does greatly differ from mining or oil extraction but there is a red line here and the agency responsible is crossing it and most detesting about it is how again, they are catering to the timber industry and not the citizens of MN.

Twenty-eight managers from the north one-half and the south-east Minnesota signed on to a letter to DNR Commissioner Strommen vehemently opposing this move by DNR administration. I will not copy the entire letter here but it was concise and specific and itemizes many of their concerns. Here is a summary of few of them:

Targeted are 80 to 120 year old oak stands that yearly produce acorns for a wide array of wildlife from song birds to black bears and will continue to do so for another 200 years!

Tamarack is another important specie that is targeted, in fact in Polk County every stand of tamarack is slated for cutting!

Old forest habitat is currently the only forest habitat that provides managers with this resource to work with and is critical to fishers, martens and wintering areas for deer and moose!

Boreal owls have been extirpated in Minnesota because of over timber harvesting in MN and this will further push additional species to the brink.

These are only a very few of the itemized concerns of wildlife managers. If you would like to see the entire letter to Comm. Strommen by DNR staff, message me and I'll send it via your email as it is a PDF file and Facebook will not let me post it.

Please contact your state representatives, Governor Walz and the DNR and let them know what you think about this.


**(The letters to and from Commissioner Strommen are HERE - INTERNAL MEMO & HERE - OFFICE MEMO) < click each to read.