BWCA land swap out for comment

Decades in the making, a new plan to exchange state land inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for federal land outside the BWCA is now out for public comment.
A letter sent out Thursday outlines how the Forest Service would acquire 30,000 acres of state land in the BWCA in exchange for 39,074.65 acres of federal land.
The federal lands consist of 984 parcels totaling approximately 39,074.65 acres scattered throughout Cook, Lake and Saint Louis Counties outside the BWCAW.
“The exchange properties would be of equal value or may be equalized by the payment of cash by either party,” the letter from acting forest supervisor Chip Weber states.
“The purpose of scoping is to inform interested and affected parties of the proposed action and to solicit comments on the proposed action. The comments we receive will help determine the scope of analysis, and those comments that lead to environmental issues will assist us in developing alternatives and analyzing environmental effects,” the letter states.
Comments should be submitted by April 3, 2015.
“The State of Minnesota and the Superior National Forest are working together on a mutually beneficial strategy to transfer ownership of approximately 83,000 acres of School Trust lands,” the proposal states.
“The State’s mandate for School Trust lands is to manage them on behalf of the Permanent School Trust Fund to support public education.”
The Forest Service will host four open houses on the project. These open houses will be held:
• March 9, 4-7 p.m.: Gunflint Ranger Station, Grand Marais, MN
• March 10, 4-7 p.m.: Laurentian Ranger Station, Aurora, MN
• March 12, 4-7 p.m.: Forest Headquarters, Duluth, MN
• March 23, 4-7 p.m.: Kawishiwi Ranger Station, Ely, MN
The‘Project Scoping Package’ available under the School Trust Land Exchange webpage at explains the purpose and need for the project in detail and describes the proposed action.