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Legislation would allow land transfer on Lake Winnibigoshish

Bowen Lodge would get land where the marina is located in exchange for an undeveloped parcel nearby.

A land exchange proposal within the Chippewa National Forest has been introduced in Congress.
Contributed / U.S. Forest Service
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DEER RIVER, Minn. — Legislation that would allow the owners of Bowen Lodge on Lake Winnibigoshish to acquire some of the land the lodge sits on in exchange for nearby, undeveloped land in the Chippewa National Forest has been introduced in Congress.

The bill would give the Heig family the 7.6 acres where the longtime lodge operates a marina on adjacent Cut Foot Sioux Lake in exchange for 37.5 acres of undeveloped private property with shoreline on Lake Winnibigoshish that would go to the U.S. Forest Service and be part of the Chippewa National Forest.

Festivities for the 74th Governor’s Fishing Opener were held in Cass Lake and on Lake Winnibigoshish.

Bowen Lodge currently leases the marina property from the Forest Service. The Heigs purchased the undeveloped land last year in advance of the land exchange.

The bill was introduced Thursday by U.S. Reps. Pete Stauber, R-Minn., and Jared Huffman, D-Calif.

While acquiring the marina land would give the lodge owners certainty on the future of the property, the undeveloped shoreline and forest land acquired by the Forest Service would help protect the environment around Lake Winnibigoshish, a reservoir on the Mississippi River.


“There are few parcels that have this much water quality and habitat value located on the Mississippi River,” Tim Terrill, executive director of the Mississippi Headwaters Board, said in a statement. “... preserving this newly acquired shoreland property on Lake Winnibigoshish will protect the natural and recreational values of the Mississippi River while keeping our cultural history intact.”

The Itasca County Board also has backed the land exchange. The Heig family has owned the lodge for 40 years.

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