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Hubbard County accepts 680 acres of woodlands

The Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT) is donating 680 acres of “high-quality forestland” to Hubbard County.

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The Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT) is donating 680 acres of “high-quality forestland” to Hubbard County.

The county board approved a land protection agreement with NWLT at their Tuesday Jan. 17 meeting.

Hubbard County Land Commissioner Mark “Chip” Lohmeier explained that NWLT is acquiring the parcels, formerly PotlatchDeltic Corporation land, from The Conservation Fund and gifting them to the county.

The wooded lands are located within five townships: Akeley, White Oak, Mantrap, Rockwood and Thorpe. According to Lohmeier, they range from a 40-acre parcel in Akeley Township to 240 acres in Thorpe Township.

“I’ve met with all five townships that are encompassed in these parcels, and they have all agreed that this is the right way to go to acquire these lands and manage them,” Lohmeier said.

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Closing is anticipated for March.

They are all pine plantations in various stages of regrowth, he said. “They’ll all be very productive lands.”

In his written report, Lohmeier stated the “revenues generated from the management of forest lands is roughly equal to the tax revenue generated from lands classified as ‘rural vacant lands.’ Because these lands will be acquired using Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council funds, they will not be eligible for PILT. All five tracts have been inspected with no environmental concerns or management impediments found.”

In related business, the board did as follows:

  • Accepted the $27,935 quote from PRT, Inc. of  Howell, Mich. for 127,725 conservation-grade, containerized tree seedlings for spring 2024 delivery. Lohmeier said these seedlings – a mix of jack pine, Norway pine, white pine and white spruce – will be planted on recently harvested sites throughout the county.
  • Classified 12 tax-forfeited lands as “non-conservation,” allowing for their subsequent sale. In his report, Lohmeier said the county assessor’s 2023 estimated market value for the parcels, including a couple lakeshore lots, range from $400 to $749,000. 
  • Reviewed the results from the Jan. 9 timber auction. Lohmeier reported that all 12 tracts sold on the first round of bidding. They contained nearly 8,000 cords of wood products and covered 524.84 acres. The appraised value of the tracts was $168,937. The final bid value of the timber sold was $238,366.
  • Accepted low bid of $2,113,213 from Hawkinson Construction Co., Inc. of Grand Rapids for a reclamation project from Becida west to the Clearwater County line. Hubbard County Public Works Coordinator Jed Nordin explained that reclamation means the existing blacktop and some aggregate is ground up and packed down, then new paving is laid over the top.
  • Prioritized deficient county and township bridges that are expected to be replaced within the next five years. Nordin said bridges with an Local Planning Index below 60 are eligible for bridge bonding and/or federal funding. Nordin noted that five bridges are listed: Fairwood Drive on Belle Taine (2023), CSAH 13 over Crow Wing (2023), 149th Ave. in Straight River Township (2024), CSAH 45 over Necktie River (2025) and CSAH 38 over Kabekona River (2026). There are 70 bridges overall in the county. They are inspected every four years, at most, but typically every other year, according to assistant engineer Jeff Adolphson.
  • Approved a $11,968 payment to PRO Custom and Security, LLC for additional labor and equipment required to make security card access operational at the county public works building.
  • Set a public hearing on proposed ADA and Title VI policies for the county for Tuesday, Feb. 21.
  • Approved the legal secretary position for the county attorney’s office. It was included in the 2023 budget.
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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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