MSBA hopes you will join us and submit a letter of support for the federal acquisition of the School Trust Lands located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).
Nearly 10 percent of lands within the BWCAW are School Trust Lands were granted by the United States to Minnesota during statehood, with the intent to provide a source of continued revenue for public schools. The Superior National Forest, by agreement with the state, manages these lands. Limitations imposed by the Wilderness Act directly conflict with state law that directs School Trust management to “secure the maximum long-term economic return.”
The Superior National Forest’s request of $15 million in “core” funding is an essential component to complete an acquisition of 15,000 acres of School Trust Lands, would signify a major step on a path toward settling this long-standing land management issue and fulfilling the federal government’s promise to the state of Minnesota at the time the BWCAW was created.
If you want more detailed information, access the U.S. Forest Service’s Project Sheet at http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/ForestService-ProjectSheet.pdf.
Please submit your letter of support of for this project by September 17.
See http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/TrustLands-SampleLetter-2017.pdf to view a sample letter.
BACKGROUND: To help understand the history, the Minnesota School Trust Lands were set aside in 1858 to support the state’s public education system. However, the 83,000 acres of School Trust Lands within the BWCAW have been prohibited from providing any economic support since 1964. Minnesota, the Superior National Forest and interested stakeholders devised a strategy to address this in 2010. The “Hybrid Model” combines the Forest Service’s purchase of 53,000 acres with an exchange of 30,000 acres.
Minnesota’s school trust beneficiaries — 850,000 K-12 public school children — deserve the benefits from the lands that were granted to Minnesota at statehood for the support of public education.