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May 30, 2018

State Parks: forest restoration

Jay Cooke State Park by Janell Wesenberg
Supported Project in P&TC’s 2018 Legislative Agenda

Project Overview

This project will restore 255 acres of forested native plant communities that have been impacted by turn of the century logging, clearing for agriculture and an over-abundance of white-tailed deer. These activities will take place in four state parks/state recreation areas:

  • Forestville-Mystery Cave – 65 acres
  • Greenleaf Lake – 10 acres
  • Itasca – 150 acres
  • Jay Cooke – 30 acres

2018 LCCMR Recommendation


Project Impact

This effort is needed because of past impacts to forests, such as turn of the century logging, clearing for agriculture and an over-
abundance of white-tailed deer. Primary goals for the project include:
  • Providing additional habitat for nearly 30 species identified in Minnesota’s Wildlife Action Plan as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including 10 MN Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern species.
  • Helping meet the statutory mandate for MN State Parks to “restore, preserve and perpetuate natural and scenic features…” (86A.05 subd. 2c)
  • Aiding the MN DNR in meeting the goals and objectives identified in Minnesota’s Wildlife Action Plan (2015-2025) and the MNDNR Conservation Agenda (2015-2025)
Secondarily, by restoring agricultural lands that historically were forested, this project will be consistent with Division and Department direction to reduce the amount of land under agricultural lease or cooperative farming agreements. While the restoration tasks may vary between sites to address specific issues generally each site will undergo three major steps to complete the restoration project:
  • Site preparation – may involve activities such as invasive species control, prescribed burning and disking.
  • Planting – accomplished via direct seeding or planting of seedlings
  • Protection/establishment – this may require exclosures, bud-capping, deer repellants or high mowing

Project Support

Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has recommended this project to be funded by the Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Bill Status: Passed & Signed

  1. Bonding Bill (HF 4425) introduced that includes an appropriation of $250,000 from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to restore at least 255 acres of high-quality forests in state parks such as Itasca, Jay Cooke, and Forestville Mystery Cave State Parks and Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2023, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.
  2. Bill passed in Senate (vote: 113-17) and House (vote: 42-25)
  3. Signed by Gov. Dayton on May 30, 2018

2018 Legislative Outcome

LCCMR RecommendationAmount Funded

Other Investment Projects on P&TC's 2018 Legislative Agenda