Reader's View: Legislature not giving DNR a 'fee' ride
I liked Sam Cook's one-page, two-story coverage of two seemingly separate but, I believe, very connected issues in the Northland Outdoors section of the Sunday, April 30 News Tribune ("Outdoors funding finds little support in Legislature" and "An...
I liked Sam Cook's one-page, two-story coverage of two seemingly separate but, I believe, very connected issues in the Northland Outdoors section of the Sunday, April 30 News Tribune (" Outdoors funding finds little support in Legislature " and " Anglers still have access to lower Sucker River - for now "). I think the News Tribune's Cook is a great outdoors writer.
Ironically, his two stories may even have taught us a lesson about the Minnesota Constitution and the 5th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution - where individual rights Trump (sic) community rights in our democracy.
First, I was impressed by the Minnesota Steelheader's concern over a landowner's rights and the group's willingness to clean up someone else's garbage. I was impressed that the group wasn't willing to jeopardize future angling access on the Sucker River.
Second, Duluth-area Department of Natural Resources officials seem to know the easement process is a legal yet sometimes tenuous one and that it can be terminated when a landowner's rights are ignored. Furthermore, those DNR officials seem to understand that property rights Trump (sic) society's rights in our democracy.
In his column about the Legislature, Cook interviewed Izaak Walton League members about the lack of legislative action for DNR-related fee increases. Fiscally tight Republicans hold control over both the House and Senate, but let's not blame Republicans for the lack of a bill sponsoring DNR fee increases. The Minnesota Constitution allows even the DFL to sponsor a fee-increase bill.
For several years, I've publicly alleged that, in 2005, the DNR fraudulently trespassed on private property on the Dark River, north of Chisholm, by not getting an easement from the aggrieved landowner. Finally, in 2017, I believe that the Legislature - both Republican and DFL - will not reward such behavior by a public agency by giving them fee increases. Seemingly, our elected officials can all agree that individual rights Trump (sic) community rights in our democracy.
David G. Holmbeck