School Trust Lands in BWCA, over 83,000 acres of state-owned land, have been kept from earning money due to the fact that the land is protected as wilderness. According to the Associated Press in an article April 18, 2018, $4,000,000 from the government funding bill, recently passed in Congress, will allow officials to move forward with a 2012 plan to make lands available for use in a three way exchange.
In preparation for this resolution to the decades long dispute, The Conservation Fund has bought 8,000 acres of prime private forest lands in NE MN which will be used in the exchange for the school trust fund lands, lands which will then be owned by the U S Forest Service.
Since the U S Forest Service has just exchanged lands so that Polymet can mine next to the BWCAW as soon as the DNR permits, I wonder. How will this work out for the BWCAW if/when copper mining reaches its tentacles into the area surrounding Babbitt particularly to the North and Northeast? Can we expect the US Forest Service to stand down when mining interests request another trade?
Just a thought.
The question arises, as well, why is funding of our schools linked to exploitation of our lands and waters? Perhaps there is a better way.