- Associated Press - Thursday, April 6, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr is pressing the Legislature for hunting and fishing fee hikes to generate more money for fish and wildlife management and state park maintenance.

The fund has fallen from more than $20 million a few years ago to less than $10 million, and next year it will be half that, Minnesota Public Radio (https://bit.ly/2ocXj1I ) reported. Landwehr said it’ll be gone by 2019.

Under Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal, a deer hunting tag would go from $30 to about $34. A fishing license would increase $3 to $25.

A state park pass would rise by a dollar per day. That fee hasn’t seen an increase in a decade.

The money would help with everything from deer population research to state park maintenance to walleye stocking in Lake Mille Lacs.

“We stock over 1,000 lakes with walleye,” Landwehr said. “Without the fee increase we would have to stop stocking on at least 200 lakes.”

Landwehr added that if the proposal is passed, the increase would keep wildlife and fish, and the parks department solvent for five or six more years.

Republican House and Senate leaders are skeptical of increases. House Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Dan Fabian said people he’s talked to want the DNR to do a better job of managing resources.

“They need to show more of a willingness to make some reforms within the agency,” Fabian said. “I met with the commissioner before the session started, and said I realize we’re going to have to come to some sort of an agreement on the budget eventually, but bring me your ideas for reforms, bring me your ideas for streamlining.”

Fabian said the House bill doesn’t include a fee for fishing and hunting licenses, but it includes the one for a state park pass.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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