Public meetings set for proposed BWCA land swap between state and feds

Five hearings have been set to hear from the public on a proposed federal-state land swap involving land in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The state owns about 86,000 acres inside the 1.1 million acre BWCA, the Duluth News Tribune said. This proposed swap would involve about 30,000 acres, with the state, in return, getting to choose land in the Superior National Forest of equal value.

Looking ahead, the federal government would like to eventually purchase the rest of the land inside the BWCA, which is part of the state’s “school trust land.” 

But some oppose the swap because it would take land in the Superior National Forest out of the more ecologically protective federal hands. Instead, they’d like the federal government to straight-out buy the Boundary Waters land from the state. 

The paper says the U.S. Forest Service’s public meetings, all scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m., will be:

  • March 9: Gunflint Ranger Station, 2020 W. Minnesota Highway 61, Grand Marais
  • March 10: Laurentian Ranger Station, 318 Forestry Road, Aurora
  • March 12: Forest Headquarters, 8901 Grand Avenue Place, Duluth
  • March 23: Kawishiwi Ranger Station, 1393 Minnesota Highway 169, Ely
  • March 26: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by joe smith on 03/03/2015 - 12:46 pm.

    Why does the Federal Govt own any state land?

  2. Submitted by lawrence thomforde on 04/21/2015 - 07:23 pm.

    school trust land exchange with USFS

    In 1963 I invested in a land exchange with the US Forest Service providing oversight. This land exchange is recorded in Lake County as E119, Weeks Act, Ex. 6-11-65, #3731-B, Section 28, Fall Lake Twsp, line 119 and was a land swap between Joseph Perko and the Federal Government. Perko, a longtime family friend, owned several hundred acres within the footprint of the current boundaries of the BWCAW, and was a significant player during the tumultuous acquisition of private land necessary to create the public recreation area we know today as the BWCAW. As you perhaps understand, the private property acquisition was forced by the Presidential Air Space Ban of 1949 along with the closing off of the roads to private property, perhaps most notable was the closing of the Gun Lake Grade in 1953. Perko lost access to his various parcels of land and either sold out directly or was involved in several land swaps.
    In the land exchange that I was involved in, Perko swapped 91 acres along the Kawishiwi River for 3.75 acres of National Forest lakeshore just outside of the BWCA (no W at that time). The parcel provided to Perko was US Government Lot 1. I was an investor in this exchange of properties.

    Documents were provided to Perko/Thomforde establishing the property boundary of US Government Lot 1. In 2010, the USFS paved a twisted tale that ended with the east property boundary of US Government Lot 1 being relocated in a manner that eliminated the access road from connecting to the parcel for which it was exclusively built across National Forest land. Ironic to say the least, surely a land heist.

    I am alleging that the documents in my possession contain no lies. The USFS provided to me a plat drawing of what was disposed to Perko/Thomforde. If the documents contain lies and misleading information then Perko/Thomforde were fraudulently led into a real estate investment and the USFS should be charged with a crime.

    If should be necessary for a Federal and State level of oversight to be necessary whereby the Federal documents provided at the time of the 1965 Perko land exchange be examined and brought to the attention of the public before proceeding with other Minnesota State land exchanges. The School Trust land exchange between Minnesota and the US Forest Service should not proceed until State and Federal oversight is brought to bear on the Federal documents Perko/Thomforde have in their possession. When the Federal Government commits a crime against one Minnesotan, all Minnesotans are victims.

    Copies of the land exchange documents establishing the terms of the Perko/Federal Government land swap of 1965 are available by getting in contact with me.

    Thank You and Sincerely,

    Lawrence Thomforde

  3. Submitted by lawrence thomforde on 04/21/2015 - 07:25 pm.

    kimbal background

    Mr. Kimball,

    Was your Father the former MNDNR chief?

    Lawrence Thomforde

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