The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has released a draft operational plan for management of the Sand Dunes State Forest, located in central Sherburne County, about 3 miles west of Zimmerman.
The draft operational plan will undergo a 45-day public review from June 21 to August 4. Members of the public are invited to read the draft plan on the DNR’s website and provide comments through an online form; both are located at www.mndnr.gov/forestry/sand-dunes.
The DNR will hold a public meeting to discuss the plan on July 10, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Big Lake High School cafeteria; 501 Minnesota Ave., in Big Lake. Members of the public will be invited to interact with DNR staff and learn more about the draft plan. The meeting will begin with an open house, followed by a brief DNR presentation about the plan and, conclude with an open microphone session.
Last summer, the DNR organized a group of local residents, government leaders and other interested people to provide perspective and advice on management issues in the Sand Dunes State Forest. The group held six open meetings, and there were often additional people in the audience who joined in the discussion. These citizen-centered discussions helped shape the new draft plan released this week.
Sand Dunes State Forest, established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1945, includes about 6,000 acres of land owned and managed by the state. It features pine plantations, rare sand dunes, wetlands, woodlands, oak savanna and prairie and is home to more than two dozen rare plants and animals. The forest is a popular recreation destination for hikers, horseback riders, hunters, campers and others.
For ongoing news regarding Sand Dunes State Forest and future meetings of the advisory group, sign up for email updates . Enter an email address and then select Sand Dunes State Forest from the drop down list. Visit www.mndnr.gov/forestry/sand-dunes for notes and resources related to the meetings.