One of the earliest life lessons a child is taught is the importance of sharing with others.
Unfortunately, there are times when adults forget that lesson, as they hold on tightly to their turf – not allowing others to utilize it.
That is particularly true in government, as one group acquires a piece of land for its program, with another relatively similar department acquiring an adjacent piece for its program. Yet, in the end the uses of one piece under the rules of one program can’t overlap with another.
While there are times when those rules must be upheld, there are other times when the turf wars are not, in the opinion of some, justified, especially when it comes to use of the landscape.
For a number of years, groups have been working in the Minnesota River Valley to change the rules. Those changes would allow for multiple uses of land dedicated to one use or another, such as opening up DNR management area for the development of multi-use trails.
Although some progress has been made, a recent announcement by Tom Landwehr, who is commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, just might be what these groups have been hoping would come to fruition.
At a recent DNR meeting, Land-wehr said the DNR is going to look at ways to develop multiple uses of land in the Minnesota River Valley.
According to Loran Kaardal, who has worked for this kind of opportunity for years, this is good news.
“Over the past 18 months we have seen a new level of cooperation,” said Kaardal, adding it is good to have leadership at the state level from people who are willing to investigate ideas not just dismiss them.
Kaardal continues to argue there is a place for everyone in the same landscape, whether it be those who hunt and fish or those who enjoy hiking and riding horses on trails.
A bill is being introduced in the state legislature that would create a pilot program in the Minnesota River Valley where multi-use opportunities would be developed, with that area becoming a model for the rest of the state of how the concept would work.
Current law prohibits trails on wildlife management areas in Minnesota, and the legislation would create a new type of program where conservation and creation programs would co-exist.
The reality, said Kaardal, is more and more people are gaining interest in recreation and the population in the state is expected to rise.
“There is only so much land available,” said Kaar-dal, adding that means it needs to be shared.
A coalition is being created to support the legislation, and Kaardal said many of the organizations impacted by the legislative proposal have expressed support for the idea. The next three to four months are going to be key to the future of the shared landscape concept, and Kaardal said it is his hope the legislation comes to fruition.