Hubbard County may obtain fourth set of former Potlatch land
County Land Commissioner Mark "Chip" Lohmeier said this was the county’s fourth request to acquire former Potlatch land – and probably the last. “After this, we’ll have those lands that we were interested in.”
Hubbard County could gain another 1,800 acres for permanent conservation management and protection.
Hubbard County Land Commissioner Mark “Chip” Lohmeier explained that the Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT) is working with multiple counties and tribal governments on a grant application to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council to acquire lands currently owned by The Conservation Fund (TCF) throughout Minnesota.
“In Hubbard County, we’re looking at approximately 1,849 acres of formerly Potlatch land scattered throughout the county,” he told county commissioners at their Tuesday, April 4 meeting. “This is kind of a statewide approach instead of one entity at a time. Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council likes to see that kind of cooperation amongst agencies.”
Over the last four years, Lohmeier said the county has acquired roughly 2,000 acres through various conservation organizations. The eight timber sales on those new lands have resulted in $145,000 in revenues, he said.
Lohmeier said the 1,849 acres in question is “all pine plantations. A lot of those are just nearing that first thinning, so there will be revenues that we can capture right away.”
Six parcels either adjoin or have existing grant-in-aid snowmobile trails on them, he added. Board consensus was that these trails need to be continued.
County commissioner Char Christenson asked what would happen if Hubbard County didn’t accept.
TCF would likely donate the land to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Lohmeier replied.
If the grant is approved, Hubbard County cannot encumber these acres nor sell them. “If someone has private land behind, the county cannot grant an easement across it,” Lohmeier explained. No new trails may be built on them either.
Board chair Tom Krueger said he’d prefer the county receive the land rather than the DNR.
County commissioner David De La Hunt asked if the additional acres are adjacent to existing county land.
“Yes,” Lohmeier replied. “That’s what we were looking for, consolidating ownership.”
In Nov. 2020, PotlatchDeltic Corporation sold approximately 72,400 acres in Minnesota – 10,310 of them in Hubbard County – to TCF. TCF’s stated goals were that the land remains as working forest, conservation land or public recreational land. The nonprofit organization offered to work with the county for a decade, if the county wishes to acquire some of the property.
Lohmeier said this was the county’s fourth request to acquire former Potlatch land – and probably the last. “After this, we’ll have those lands that we were interested in.”
Any remaining Potlatch land that isn’t contiguous with county or DNR land will likely be sold to the public, Lohmeier said.
The county board authorized a letter of support at their Tuesday, April 4 meeting.
In other business, the board did as follows:
- Approved Elsner Well Drilling Inc. of Menahga’s low quote of $14,758 to construct a new, 150-foot deep well at the south transfer station. County Solid Waste Administrator Josh Holte said the replacement well is part of a plan to address excessive boron and manganese levels “down gradient of the landfill, impacting residential wells.”
- Approved the low bid of $411,384 from Gladen Construction, Inc. of Laporte for storm sewer repair, new ADA-compliant sidewalks, curb and gutter replacement and paving in Akeley.
- Approve low bid of Landwehr Construction, Inc. of St. Cloud, in the amount of $996,191, to replace a bridge. It’s contingent upon approval of Nevis Township.
- Approve low quote from F-M Forklift Sales & Service, In. Fargo, ND for a Toyota Model forklift, in the amount of $53,951.00.
- Accepted the low quote of Midwest Machinery Co., of Wadena, MN for a John Deere, batwing mower in the amount of $19,000, which includes the trade-in of a 2017 John Deere mower for $13,000. The trade-in mower was purchased in 2017 for $19,900, but has been costly to maintain and, at 20 inches, is too large for most ditch mowing projects, said County Public Works Director Jed Nordin in his report. The replacement is 15 inches.
- Accepted the low quote from Up North Power and Sports of Park Rapids
- for $7,744 for a 2023 Polaris Sportsman 570 ATV. It will be used by the sheriff’s office’s trail deputy.
- Approved four private easements across unsold tax-forfeited land and supporting Resolutions for Leif Haugland in Lake Emma Township.
- Authorized an educational leave of absence for a full-time, sheriff's office employee to further their law enforcement career, from May 7, 2023 through July 11, 2023.
- Approved the 2023 State of Minnesota Annual County Boat and Water Safety Grant contract agreement, effective Jan. 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. The grant total is $30,206.