News release: Minnesota DNR celebrates new donation to the Paul Bunyan State Forest for National Public Lands Day

September 21, 2023

More than 2,500 acres of forest, lakes and ponds will be added to the Paul Bunyan State Forest

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that it received a 2,529-acre land donation from Trust for Public Land. The donated land, roughly four-square miles of rolling hills of forests, lakes, ponds and wetlands near Park Rapids, will be managed by the Minnesota DNR as part of Paul Bunyan State Forest. The parcel currently includes a portion of the Scout Trail, a pre-existing Grant-in-Aid snowmobile trail, and will eventually offer many other recreation opportunities.

Established in 1994, National Public Lands Day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the partners and volunteers who support our public lands.

“The addition of this land to the Paul Bunyan State Forest was five years in the making and is a great example of the success that happens when people dedicated to conservation work in partnership,” Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “This forested public land will have numerous environmental, economic, and recreational benefits for Minnesota. We’re grateful for the partnership with Trust for Public Lands and look forward to our continuing conservation work together.”

Previously owned by PotlatchDeltic, this parcel is surrounded by public land owned by Hubbard County. Continued stewardship of these lands as working forest maintains its ability to store carbon and provide benefits for generations to come.

“This parcel is one of the largest remaining blocks of private forest in the entire state. Keeping this forestland intact will not only allow residents around Hubbard County to enjoy expanded recreational opportunities, but it will also protect water quality for people and wildlife alike,” said Sophie Vorhoff, Minnesota State Director for TPL. “We’re proud to have the support of DNR and are excited to see this space benefit residents for years to come.”

The project is part of TPL’s Mississippi Headwaters Program, an effort to protect and preserve sensitive shoreline throughout the headwaters region, in partnership with the Mississippi Headwaters Board and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. TPL purchased the land from the Conservation Fund using funding from the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund. More information about TPL and its mission can be found on the organization’s website.

Back to top