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Minnesota briefs: Logging rights near Ely get no bids

Concern over the potential logging of a tract of state forest near the North Arm of Burntside Lake was expressed at the August 6, 2017 Annual Meeting of the Burntside Lake Association. At that meeting, President Ward Nelson committed to continue to keep members informed about developments on this issue. The following public announcement from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was made on January 20, 2018 and is the latest update:

Logging rights for a popular tract of state forest near Ely were put up for auction on Thursday, January 18, 2018 — and no one bid on them. 

Logging rights for a popular tract of state forest near Ely were put up for auction this week — and no one bid on them.

The rights for cutting down about a third of the trees on the 57-acre parcel will now get listed at a fixed price of $14,600, said Amy Kay Kerber, a staffer at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

News of the auction drew criticism from locals who say the cherished pine trees in Burntside State Forest form the backdrop for popular recreation trails. The nearby YMCA Camp du Nord draws 5,000 to 6,000 visitors a year. A petition and social media posts opposed to the logging drew thousands of signers.

State officials ultimately agreed to reduce the size of the parcel they would open up for logging but went ahead with the auction because it’s considered to be routine forest management that improves the forest’s long-term vitality.

Kerber said the forest thinning will reduce fire risk, promote white pine growth and help maintain the aesthetic of the forest. If an approved logger purchases the rights soon, they could yet cut the trees this winter as long as conditions are frozen.


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Burntside Lake Association
P.O. Box 81
Ely, MN 55731

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