DNR invites public comment on including timber harvest as a resource management tool at Father Hennepin State Park

February 17, 2021

Note: To ensure participants and DNR staff safety, and to comply with Executive Order 21-01, the open house will take place via the walk-up window of the Mille Lacs Kathio State Park ranger station. Participants must wear masks and maintain 6-feet of social distance when interacting with DNR staff and other participants.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages public input on an update to Father Hennepin State Park’s management plan, which would allow for timber harvests as part of resource management at the park. Input may be provided during the open house or via mail or email.

The DNR would like to thin a red pine plantation near the park shop and sewage pond area. Thinning the pine stand would promote better tree health and growth, eliminate brush that poses a fire danger, reduce the risk of disease and blowdown, and create a more natural look.

The DNR uses timber harvesting as a tool in state parks to meet its resource management goals and to maintain interpretive and recreation activities. Timber harvests take place in state parks and state recreation areas primarily to restore or manage native plant communities.

In some cases, a harvest is necessary to restore visitor access and safety by clearing trails and reducing the risk of forest fires from downed timber following a storm. DNR may contract with a commercial operator to conduct timber harvest activities. It is often more cost-efficient for a commercial operator using their specialized equipment to conduct the timber harvest, especially for larger projects.

The draft management plan for Father Hennepin State Park would set the direction for the park for the next 15-20 years and includes recommendations for managing natural and cultural resources and providing recreational and interpretative opportunities to park visitors.

The plan amendment would clarify the use of timber harvesting as a resource management tool in Father Hennepin. In addition to the thinning project contemplated for the area surrounding the park shop and sewage pond, timber harvests under the proposed plan might also involve removing undesirable trees and brush, including non-native vegetation such as European buckthorn.

An open house at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park will be held via the ranger station’s walk-up window for people interested in learning more about the plan amendment and the thinning project. Father Hennepin State Park, which sits on the southeast shore of Mille Lacs Lake in east-central Minnesota, is managed by Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. The schedule for the open house is:

  • Mille Lacs Kathio State Park: 5-6:30 p.m. Monday, March 1

The open house on March 1 is the final part of the public comment process for the plan amendment.  Comments will be accepted through March 12. The initial public comment period for the timber harvest plan amendment was held last March and April, although the open house previously scheduled for March 23, 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19 related restrictions. 

In case of inclement weather, the open house will be rescheduled. For more information, contact Jade Templin at 651-259-5598 or [email protected].