Stauber Reintroduces Lake Winnibigoshish Land Exchange Act

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Washington – RealEstateRama – Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) reintroduced the Lake Winnibigoshish Land Exchange Act, which exchanges 38 acres owned by Bowen Lodge for 13.8 acres managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) within the Chippewa National Forest. Joining Congressman Stauber in introducing this bipartisan legislation are Congressman Brad Finstad (MN-01), Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02), and Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-02).

“This land exchange is a win for Bowen Lodge, the Chippewa National Forest, and for recreators across Minnesota,” said Congressman Stauber. “Exchanging shoreline on Lake Winnibigoshish for a parcel on Cut Foot Sioux Lake grants Bowen Lodge continuity in managing their marina and keeps the pristine shoreline intact for all Minnesotans to enjoy. This exchange is consistent with the Mississippi Headwaters Board (MHB) Comprehensive Plan, ensures certainty for Bowen Lodge, and helps the Chippewa National Forest reach its management goals.”

“There are few parcels that have this much water quality and habitat value located on the Mississippi River,” said Mississippi Headwaters Board executive director Tim Terrill. “The MHB board agrees that 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.”

“Protecting this biodiverse and unique piece of land within the Upper Mississippi Headwaters and Chippewa National Forest is critical to the Heig family,” said Bill & Gail Heig, owners of Bowen Lodge. “Representative Pete Stauber, the Mississippi Headwaters Board and the unanimous community support have been instrumental to the exchange. We are truly humbled to create a new opportunity for future generations to enjoy the tremendous beauty of the Chippewa National Forest and Lake Winnibigoshish watershed region.”

The parcel of land that would be acquired by USFS meets objectives of the USFS and the Chippewa National Forest. On three sides, the parcel borders the National Forest, with the remaining edge being the lake shoreline. Receiving this parcel would eliminate a headache-inducing checkerboard pattern of land ownership for USFS with the best fitting possible puzzle piece, while simultaneously remaining consistent with MHB’s conservation-oriented mission. This would preserve an undisturbed and environmentally sensitive parcel of land on Lake Winnibigoshish.

The parcel of land that would be acquired by Bowen Lodge is already commercially zoned and contains a marina on Cut Foot Sioux Lake. The parcel is leased annually by Bowen Lodge for marina and resort operation from USFS. Acquiring the USFS-owned property on Cut Foot Sioux Lake would ensure uninhibited resort operations for Bowen Lodge and continued visitor and commercial activity on developed land.

The proposed exchange between Bowen Lodge and USFS is unanimously supported by local governing bodies. The MHB voted 8-0 in favor, and Itasca County, where both parcels are located, voted 5-0 in favor as well.

You can read letters of support from the Mississippi Headwaters Board and Itasca County.

Full text of the bill can be found here.

Congressman Stauber also introduced this bill in the 117th Congress.


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