School boards’ support helps move BWCAW land swap forward

School boards’ support helps move BWCAW land swap forward

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Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

School districts’ resolutions could result in $4 million in aid from Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) land swap has taken a step forward.

On Wednesday, March 21, the U.S. Congress unveiled its omnibus spending bill. If the bill passes, $4 million would be appropriated for the BWCAW project through the Land and Water Conversation Fund (LWCF).

The Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) has been a longtime advocate of the land swap. This year, many Minnesota public school boards passed MSBA-generated resolutions that favored the land swap.

A congressional report encourages the private forestland exchange alternative (Plan B). The language in the report states that both the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations support the continuation of efforts to resolve the longstanding management challenges regarding School Trust Lands within the BWCAW in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota.

“While this is only the first round of funding, the project is now in the LWCF funding pipeline for future phases, said Aaron Vande Linde, director of the School Trust Lands. “Thank you to all the school districts who passed resolutions in supporting the project.”

The committees also encouraged the U.S. Forest Service to collaborate with nonprofit partners on the private forestland exchange alternative, which will provide the added benefit of preserving valuable forestlands outside of Superior National Forest.

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