Your State-managed Public Lands

Jay Cooke State Park

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Owned by you, managed by the DNR

Most of the land that is now Minnesota was ceded to the U.S. by Ojibwe and Dakota people over 30 years (1837-1867). These treaties are part of a larger picture that affected indigenous people and land in what is now Minnesota.

Minnesotans value their state lands and affirmed their support with the passage of the 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The DNR manages these lands on behalf of our citizens and continually strives to improve the state’s land portfolio through strategic purchases, sales and exchanges. We do this to ensure the state’s public land base meets the recreation, conservation and economic needs into the future.



Fact Sheets

Public Lands by the Numbers | Public Lands In-Depth

Backbone of outdoor recreation and tourism

Pie chart of Minnesota Land Management. 74 percent of land is privately owned, 11 percent is state owned and includes non-DNR administered state land. 6 percent is county-managed state land. 9 percent is federal, Tribal and other. Minnesota Land Ownership

About 24 percent of Minnesota's lands are public lands — more than 12 million acres of state, federal and county lands managed on behalf of citizens.

The DNR manages 5.6 million acres of state lands — about 11 percent of Minnesota's total land area; roughly 1 acre per person.

Minnesota counties manage 2.8 million acres of tax-forfeited state land — about 6 percent of Minnesota's total land area.

Do you ever wonder what is behind Minnesota’s outdoor culture? Look no further than Minnesota’s 5.6 million acres of state lands that provide space and access to a wide variety of outdoor experiences.  This network includes recreational trails for snowmobiling, hiking, biking, skiing and off-road motorized use. Hunters and anglers have access to millions of acres of state hunting lands and waters. For others, state lands offer solitude and beautiful spaces for camping, wildlife watching and photography.

Contributing to Minnesota’s economy

State lands generate tourism and recreation equipment spending across the state. State forests provide about 30 percent of the state’s wood supply for an industry that employs 64,000 people. State-owned mineral royalties generate millions of dollars each year for Minnesota’s Public School and University Trust Funds. The state pays approximately $36 million annually in Payment in Lieu of Taxes (or PILT) to local governments to offset property taxes not collected on state and tax-forfeit lands.

Providing environmental benefits

As the state’s population grows, state lands increasingly play an important environmental role. State lands in the form of forests, prairies and peatlands play important roles in providing clean water and air, carbon sequestration, habitat for pollinators and wildlife, and protection of space for rare plants, animals and geologic features.


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