In recognition of public lands as a resource belonging to all Minnesotans, Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed Friday, Aug. 31, Public Lands Day.
The governor’s proclamation affirms these lands, “contribute to the state economy and are the backbone of outdoor recreation and tourism in Minnesota.”
To kick off the Labor Day weekend, a special tribute to the importance of Minnesota’s public lands will take place at the DNR building at the Minnesota State Fair at noon, Friday, Aug. 31. The public is encouraged to attend the celebration. Winners of the DNR’s recent Public Lands Photo Contest will be recognized at the event, along with their photos.
Minnesota’s 5.6 million acres of state lands provide space and access to a wide variety of outdoor experiences. This network includes trails for snowmobiling, hiking, biking, skiing and off-road motorized use. Hunters and anglers have access to millions of acres of state hunting lands and waters. For others, state lands offer solitude and beautiful spaces for camping, wildlife watching and photography.
The DNR manages not only state parks and trails lands on behalf of the residents of the state but also scientific and natural areas, state forests, wildlife management areas and aquatic management areas. These public lands and how they are managed ensure biodiversity on our landscape, hold space for rare and imperiled species, and maintain native plant communities that filter water and help provide clean air and water.
“The state’s public land base contributes significantly to local economies by supporting timber and mineral production while providing wild places for recreation and tourism, habitat for hundreds of species of fish and wildlife, and important ecological services like clean air and water,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr.
Every Minnesota county has public land. Counties receive a form of local government aid called payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (or PILT) annually in place of property taxes on 5.6 million acres of state-managed lands and 2.8 million acres of county-managed tax-forfeited lands.
More information about Minnesota’s state-managed public lands and the DNR’s strategic land asset management approach can be found at mndnr.gov/publiclands.