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Beltrami County Board: Three Island Park, Movil Maze logging subject of debate

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

By Justin Glawe

BEMIDJI — Jim Lucachick and Richard Moore appeared Tuesday night to be in a bit of a disagreement over the industry in which Moore works, and his interests in managing Beltrami County’s natural resources.

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What played out between the two during the work session of the County Board’s meeting was indicative of the stances taken by those on opposite ends of a debate over logging practices in county parks — specifically Three Island Park and Movil Maze.

“These two gentleman are in the forestry industry,” Lucachick said of Moore, and Jerry Richards, an employee of Norbord Inc. who spoke at the meeting in support of Moore’s actions as director of the Beltrami County Department of Natural Resource Management.

Moore, seated just to Lucachick’s right, took issue with the statement from the District 5 Commissioner.

“I’m in the land management industry,” Moore said tersely.

Use of the parks, Moore said, for recreation and special events has increased, requiring a re-assessment of logging practices there. And those extra hunters, hikers, cross-country skiers have complained, according to Lucachick, in large numbers about the scale and scope of logging activities in the two parks.

Several citizens addressed the board, both in work and regular sessions, voicing concerns over what they described as heavy logging practices in Three Island Park and Movil Maze. For his part, Moore revisited four amendments made to his department’s policies in 2011, and asked the board to approve the size of the Movil Maze recreation area, 913 acres, and its boundaries.

The amendments — to limit “harvest units” to 15 acres or less in size, imposing a five-year minimum between logging activities in those units, defining 375 to 400 acres in both parks as untouchable “legacy areas,” and allowing the Parks and Trails Advisory Council to review on a quarterly basis forest management — were seen as part of the progress made in the parks by District 1 Commissioner Jack Frost, but Lucachick disagreed.

“Simply put, we’re recreating in a logging zone,” he said. “Some 60-plus year old trees are going to go away. We want good, healthy parks, but I don’t want to go out and recreate in a slashing.”

Other action

E Approved development fund grants totaling $140,905 for the Beltrami County Agricultural Association, Beltrami County Historical Society, Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, Blackduck Area History and Art Center, Boys and Girls Club of Bemidji, Chief Bemidji Statue Project and Paul Bunyan Playhouse. Grants totaling $21,998 for the Bemidji Public Library Book Festival, Evergreen Youth and Family Services, Headwaters School of Music and the Arts and Headwaters Science Center were denied. Commissioners denied those grants because they did not meet the qualifications of the development fund — that the money go to organizations or programs that promote “tourist, agricultural and industrial developments.”

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