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Field Reports: Meeting set to discuss Iron Range OHV rec area

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is hosting an open house on Tuesday to discuss possible changes to the master plan for the Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area in Gilbert.

The meeting will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the recreation area's training center, 7196 Pettit Road. Interested parties can drop in anytime to ask questions and submit comments.

The discussion is being prompted by the rerouting of U.S. Highway 53, which gives the DNR an opportunity to provide additional access to the recreation area's Virginia expansion site. The DNR needs to amend the master plan to account for that, and the agency has identified several other possible amendments to the plan.

More information about the proposed changes is available at Gilbert City Hall or the recreation area office, or by contacting Allan Larsen, Iron Range OHV recreation area site manager, at allan.larsen@state.mn.us or (218) 735-3833.

Written comments can be submitted through July 5 by email to joe.unger@state.mn.us or by mail to Joe Unger, DNR Parks and Trails, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4039.

DNR seeks outside review of Mille Lacs management

The Minnesota DNR announced earlier this month that it will seek an external review of Mille Lacs Lake walleye management and harvest strategy.

"Mille Lacs Lake issues are complex, and peer review is an important component of sound science," Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief, said in a news release. The review also is aimed at increasing public transparency.

Pereira said the review will include an evaluation of current management objectives, a review of alternative approaches, and an evaluation of current field assessment methods, among other topics.

The DNR will provide data but won't be involved in the review, which is being led by Dr. Chris Vandergoot of the U.S. Geological Survey's Lake Erie Biological Station. The review team will meet with the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee, and also is seeking the involvement of the eight Native American bands that have rights to harvest fish from the lake under the 1837 Treaty.

The review is slated to be completed sometime next winter.

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