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Fond du Lac Band to require permits to access its land

Jan 28, 2020 05:35AM ● By Editor
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa natural resources manager Thomas Howes stands at the canoe landing at Deadfish Lake in September 2017.  Photo: Dan Kraker | MPR News

By Dan Kraker of Minnesota Public Radio News - January 28, 2020

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa will now require permits for most people to access its lands in northeastern Minnesota.

The band said Monday the policy is a way to “better manage and conserve” resources on about 41,000 acres of land on the Fond du Lac Reservation, near Cloquet, Minn.

“Over the years, we have seen an enormous amount of stress placed on these fragile ecosystems,” Thomas Howes, the band’s natural resources program manager, said in a statement. “Issues such as illegal garbage dumping, ATV traffic and overall growth in population have the potential to take their toll on wildlife and vegetation.”

A permit would not be required to drive across the reservation or to visit someone, said band spokesperson Rita Aspinwall, but rather for recreational activities.

Permits will cost $25 for 30-day access and $100 per year. 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 to access the land.

The new policy does not change hunting, fishing or trapping rules on the reservation. The permits do not allow camping or timber harvest.

The band will begin posting no-trespassing signs on the affected lands over the next several months. Exceptions will be made for lands acquired over the past several years with money from the state sales tax funded Outdoor Heritage Fund.

The policy also won’t affect existing easements or agreements in place for ski and snowmobile trails that cross the reservation.

The Fond du Lac Band’s Reservation Business Committee approved the change last April, although a news release announcing the new policy was just released Monday. The policy is in effect now, said Aspinwall, but she suggested there would be some leeway in enforcing it.

“The first couple years we’re going to be trying just to educate our community and surrounding communities about it,” she said.

A meeting on the new policy will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Cloquet Community Center.

To read the original article and see related reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website.

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