Snowmobile trails in northern Minnesota will stay open this winter after politicians reached an agreement with Molpus Woodlands Group not to restrict public access.
Mississippi-based Molpus, the largest owner of private land in Minnesota, said last month it would gate its forest roads and limit public access to property because a tax credit was about to expire. But fortunately for snowmobilers and other outdoor enthusiasts, Sen. Tom Bakk, State Rep. David Dill and others worked with Molpus to allow public access to continue through this winter.
Had the agreement not been reached, the move would have affected 128,000 acres of land in northern St. Louis County. The area is a popular snowmobile destination featuring remote, scenic trails and thick forests that are also enjoyed by hunters. The Arrowhead State Trail and the Voyageur snowmobile trails cross Molpus lands more than 20 times throughout the trail system. The closures would have had a tremendous impact on snowmobiling and the winter economy in the area.
Future public use of Molpus’ land will depend on legislative changes and possible conservation easement programs.