A dispute over the tightening of a tax loophole is threatening some great snowmobiling trails in Northern Minnesota, according to a story published today in the Duluth (Minnesota) News Tribune.
The Molpus Woodlands Group, a massive timberland ownership and management company that’s based in Mississippi, says it plans to block hunters, snowmobilers and others who have used its property for years in protest to a change in Minnesota tax law. The change took a $2 million annual tax credit Molpus used to receive for allowing recreational use of its land and capped it at $100,000, according to the story in the News Tribune.
The move affects 128,000 acres of land in northern St. Louis County, including “hundreds” of crossings of the Arrowhead and Voyageur trails in the northeast part of Minnesota, according to a lawmaker quoted in the story. The area is a popular snowmobile destination featuring remote, scenic trails and thick forests. That lawmaker, State Rep. Dave Dill, said the issue that has caused Molpus’ move to block off its land likely can’t be addressed until 2013. He is hoping, however, that if the state can convince the company that it will address the issue in the future, Molpus may rethink its immediate closures.
Molpus is the largest landowner in Minnesota, with more than 286,000 acres of Minnesota forest, including former Boise Cascade land purchased earlier this year. According to its website, Molpus currently manages approximately 1 million acres of timberland investments located in 15 states.