The St. Louis County Land & Minerals Department has reviewed its inventory of County forest roads, many in existence for decades, and will be recording prescriptive easements on some of those roads. This process may affect land you own. St. Louis County invites you to a public hearing to review the information and discuss this action.
In 2005, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law that allows the counties to record easement interests in long-used roads, which may not have been properly recorded at the time of the construction of the roads.
County forest roads give the Land & Minerals Department access to forest lands for management, such as harvest and planting. These roads also provide the public with access for hunting and other activities in the forest. In many areas, County managed lands are intertwined with other government and private lands, primarily governmental agencies and large timber companies. The forest roads in these areas were built many years ago, some dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. Oftentimes, these roads were managed cooperatively by all who used them. Some of these roads cross private lands, and that is where the County is seeking prescriptive easements.
A prescriptive easement guarantees that a long-standing road that crosses private property can continue to be used in the same manner as it has in the past. In order to record a prescriptive easement, the forest road must be in existence and used for at least 15 years.
A public hearing was held on February 26th at the Mountain Iron Community Center. It was attended 35-40 citizens and by 11 MN DNR staff and 10 staff from St. Louis County Land & Minerals Department. There was a lively discussion with DNR and County staff during the open house. There was one speaker during the DNR hearing and 2 speakers during the County hearing. All written comments are being compiled and are posted here
Land & Minerals department staff have reviewed all of the comments and have re-evaluated all of the proposed prescriptive easements in light of the comments.
Letters have been sent out informing affected land owners of the County's recording of the forest road maps with the prescriptive easements. If an affected land owner does not agree with the recording of the easement, they may appeal by contacting, in writing, the Chair of the County Board with your concerns within 90 days of the recording of the prescriptive easement.
The County Board will then have 45 days to review and respond to your letter. If the land owner is not satisfied with the County Board’s response they may appeal within 60 days by filing a formal appeal in District Court.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments about this process please feel free to call or write the Land Commissioner’s Office at 320 W 2nd Street, GSC Room 208, Duluth MN 55802, phone: 218-726-2606.