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County parks could see more use in state shutdown

Beltrami County's parks could see more use if state parks and recreational areas close from a government shutdown.

Richard Moore, the Natural Resource Management Director/Land Commission of Beltrami County, said people looking for other places to visit might now look toward using the park's day-use areas.

The county owns and manages three parks.

Rognlien Park, located west of Bemidji on Grant Lake is day-use only and offers a swimming beach, bathhouse and picnic tables.

Three Island Park, located approximately 12 miles north of Bemidji on Three Island Lake, is day-use only park. It offers a public boat access and hiking trails.

Movil Maze is not a designated park, but is managed as a day-use recreation area by the county. It is located approximately 5 miles from Bemidji, contains 1,250 acres and has network of ski trails which can be used for hiking.

Moore said county parks are often set up differently than state parks.

"State parks are more developed and are more overnight-oriented," Moore said. "We are more day-use and are lesser developed. We are a different niche."

With Lake Bemidji State Park, Lake Itasca State Park, Big Bog State Recreation Area possibly shutdown, people may be looking to recreate elsewhere for their holiday break.

"It is Fourth of July weekend and people are looking to go places," Moore said.

Beltrami County owns and manages approximately 147,000 acres of tax-forfeited land within the county. Foresters manage these lands and often rely on loggers to cut trees as part of the way it manages some its forests.

Revenues collected from selling the wood grown on county land covers some of the costs of services the county offers to its residents.

Loggers who may have been working on state forest lands before the government shutdown, may now be looking for new work on county land.

But Moore said he has not yet seen an "upsurge" in the number of loggers looking to harvest timber on county lands.

"I was at a land commissioners meeting (Wednesday)," Moore said. "None of us had seen an upsurge yet, but then it's been so wet. We've had a lot of rain. There are a lot of sites that are not really conducive to going into it yet."

Those who choose to visit county parks this summer should be reminded there is no camping allowed and non-motorized areas should be abided. However, these parks do offer plenty of wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities.