Peterson urges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to grant a permit to begin work on the Beltrami Island land trail connection and public facilities projects

Aug 9, 2018

WASHINGTON – Congressman Collin C. Peterson called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to grant a special work permit in order for construction to begin on the Beltrami Island State Forest LUP lands trail connection and other public facilities projects in Grygla/Fourtown area.

After hearing concerns from area sportsmen’s clubs, including the Fourtown Grygla Sportsmans Club, Congressman Peterson has spent months working with sportsmen and state and federal agencies on a plan to complete a section of trail that had previously been washed out due to flooding in the Roseau River. Completion of the trail connection was further complicated due to overlapping Federal and State management of these lands in the Beltrami Island State Forest. After months of negotiations, the project is finally moving forward following a land exchange deal between the Minnesota DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Finalizing this trail connection will be a boon to the area sportsmen’s clubs, and would allow for the area’s natural resources to be properly utilized by those who are most invested in them and their care,” Peterson states in the letter.

The Congressman’s letter can be read below:

Director Tom Melius
Midwest Regional Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
5600 American Blvd. West, Ste. 990
Bloomington, MN, 55437-1458

August 8th, 2018

Dear Director Melius,

I am writing today to follow up on our on-going discussions regarding the finalization of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land exchange and the completion of the trail section in the Beltrami Island State Forest LUP lands. Finalizing this trail connection will be a boon to the area sportsmen’s clubs, and would allow for the area’s natural resources to be properly utilized by those who are most invested in them and their care.

It is my understanding that DNR and FWS have agreed on the parcels and the process to move forward, including about 383 acres, which will be transferred to the state from LUP. As this process moves forward, I am requesting that FWS grant a special use permit to begin work on the trail connection, as well as the Winner Silo Toilet, which is also part of the deal under consideration, concurrent with the completion of the exchange. This will allow local Parks and Trails staff, as well as area sportsmen’s clubs, to begin work on the projects that have underpinned this agreement.

I appreciate your understanding and continued work on this matter. Once completed, this project will be a great benefit to the many sportsmen and women in the region who care for and utilize our great natural resources we have in northern Minnesota.

Sincerely,