On Feb. 19, the Lac qui Parle County Board of Commissioners voted to reject the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ proposed acquisitions of 2 parcels totaling 240 acres. These acquisitions were both from willing sellers in the county. This case may now go to a district judge who could approve the acquisition. This action by the commissioners of a Minnesota county renowned for its waterfowl hunting flies in the face of property rights and disregards the wishes of the majority of Minnesotans who want more public lands and public access.
Notably, only 4 percent of Lac qui Parle County is owned by the DNR. This action strikes a blow against public access in the state and highlights the need for rules preventing counties from vetoing public purchases in willing-seller willing-buyer circumstances. The purchase of these properties would mean more tax revenue for the county under the PILT program than are currently paid in property taxes for the 2 parcels. More importantly, this purchase would provide habitat and access for the residents of Lac qui Parle County and sportsmen and women across the state.