This week the DNR completed a detailed Environmental Assessment Worksheet, concluding that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required for further expansion of Mountain Bike Trail System at the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. As you may remember last biennium we received $3.6 million in bonding dollars for major upgrades to the CCSRA.

Next step is contracting for the actual work. The project will include developing an additional 50 miles of new trails, upgrading the Miner’s Mountain Lookout Road, making trailhead improvements and developing additional dedicated outdoor event space within CCSRA.

The project will take the CCSRA to a new level, ensuring the rec area continues to provide a very positive economic impact on our part of Minnesota. We truly have a gem right in our backyard. Repurposing this once very active iron mining range into a set of pristine lakes and adventure trails is a testament to the strong will and ingenuity of our citizens. The Cuyuna will continue to be an integral part of a robust local economy.

I testified in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to again delist the wolf from federal protection at the Franklin Arts Center Auditorium on Tuesday evening. I joined livestock producers, deer hunters and many others speaking in support of returning wolf management to the state.

This is the fourth time that wolf delisting has been considered. The three previous efforts resulted in delisting Minnesota’s wolves, but eventually all three decisions were overturned by Washington, D.C. federal judges.

About 80 individuals of the several hundred citizens attending the hearing actually testified. A wide diversity of opinion was provided on the USFWS’s proposal to remove the wolf from federal Endangered Species Act protection in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as selected areas in the Rocky Mountains.

I focused on assuring the USFWS that Minnesota’s wolf management plan works well and will prevent Minnesota’s wolves from ever again needing federal protection. As a citizen I was part of the DNR wolf roundtable that developed the baseline for today’s Minnesota wolf management plan. We successfully operated that plan for two years when the wolves were previously delisted. It’s a proven plan, we know it works.

The public comment period closes July 15. Citizens still have an opportunity to submit comments. For more information, or to comment on the plan, go to this link.

Until next time, have a happy and safe Independence Day holiday as we celebrate our great nation.

Dale Lueck (R) is the state representative for District 10B.

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