GF County Loses Public Land

zoops

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Nowhere near where I hunt but seems like an unfortunate scenario where land gets closed instead of trying to manage it better. Good of G&F to step up, hopefully they can figure out a resolution.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has offered to work with the Grand Forks County Water Board in an effort to restore access to lands that recently were closed to public hunting.

Scott Peterson, deputy director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, made the proposal to the Water Board in a meeting Wednesday, March 6.

No decision was made, but the Water Board agreed to discuss the proposal with its legal counsel and perhaps make a decision at its next meeting Wednesday, March 20.

Game and Fish already manages a tract for the Grand Forks County Water Board, Peterson said.

“That agreement, as far as we’re concerned, has been working very well,” Peterson said. “We would certainly be willing, at least on a case-by-case basis, to talk about managing more of those if that helps make the decision to keep them open.”



The board manages and maintains about 10 dams in Grand Forks County, including the Larimore and Fordville Dam recreation areas. According to Tom Perdue, Water Board chairman, the dams were built by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and later given to the Water Board to manage and maintain. While Larimore and Fordville dams historically have been closed to hunting, the Water Board recently decided to expand those restrictions and electronically post the land it owns and manages surrounding the other dams.

Among the reasons cited for closing the lands to hunting were concerns about damage caused by vehicles driving on the dams, the ever-increasing costs of repairing that damage and pressure from adjacent landowners. Combined, the closure affects about 1,200 acres of land that previously was open to public hunting.


“The decision was not an easy one to make,” Perdue said. “Almost all of the dams have erosion problems caused by vehicle traffic. That, (along with) increased liability, the board decided to post our land.”

The vehicle concern is easy to address, Peterson said Wednesday.

“We very much restrict vehicular access even for big game retrieval,” Peterson said of the department’s policy on land it manages. “We don’t allow vehicles on those parcels.”

Motor vehicles are limited to established roads and trails, Peterson said.


“If there’s already a road there, we don’t restrict that, and if there’s a section line trail, we don’t restrict that,” Peterson said. “But that would be considered an established trail.”

In addition, he said, the liability issue only applies to property on which a fee is charged for access.



“It’s our understanding and attorney general opinion that as long as they’re on public land, as long as you’re not charging an access fee, that we are not held liable for anything that happens out there,” Peterson said.

Another option, he said, would be to limit the areas to walk-in access only.

“If we were to manage some of those, we could very easily make them walk-in areas,” Peterson said. “So, we could offer a possible solution to the unwanted vehicle traffic on those dams.”

Charlie Gorecki, an avid Grand Forks sportsman, has hunted public land owned by the Grand Forks Water Board for several years and learned of the ban from a landowner with nearby property.

He attended Wednesday’s meeting in an effort to persuade the Water Board to reconsider its decision.

“I’m here about access, I’m here about protecting the right for my kids and future grandkids to be able to go out and enjoy the outdoors,” Gorecki said. “I don’t know how many acres are available in Grand Forks County for anybody who doesn’t have their own land to hunt, but I recognize that this would remove something like 1,000 acres, which is a huge percentage of the public land that’s in Grand Forks County, from hunters to utilize that public resource that we pay taxes on.

“I’m here to petition you to go the Game and Fish route, go with another option that still allows us to utilize those but then protects the dams from erosion. … I’m supportive of any type of ability that allows us to continue to enjoy that public resource.”

As Peterson told Water Board members Wednesday, any management agreement could be made on a case-by-case basis.



“It’s our responsibility to advocate for our constituents and if that means doing whatever we can to keep those areas open, we’re happy to help,” Peterson said.

Grand Forks County Commissioner Mark Rustad also encouraged the Water Board to reconsider its decision and accept the Game and Fish Department’s proposal.

To lose prime hunting land in the county “would really be a shame,” he said.

Perdue, the Water Board chairman, said the group was advised by its legal counsel not to act on the proposal Wednesday. He said the Water Board would like to have its attorney attend the next meeting, which is set for Wednesday, March 20.

“I can’t really give you a decision at this point, but probably, we would make a decision at that meeting,” he said. “We certainly do value your comments and concerns and share a lot of them.”
 


Obi-Wan

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Nowhere near where I hunt but seems like an unfortunate scenario where land gets closed instead of trying to manage it better. Good of G&F to step up, hopefully they can figure out a resolution.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has offered to work with the Grand Forks County Water Board in an effort to restore access to lands that recently were closed to public hunting.

Scott Peterson, deputy director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, made the proposal to the Water Board in a meeting Wednesday, March 6.

No decision was made, but the Water Board agreed to discuss the proposal with its legal counsel and perhaps make a decision at its next meeting Wednesday, March 20.

Game and Fish already manages a tract for the Grand Forks County Water Board, Peterson said.

“That agreement, as far as we’re concerned, has been working very well,” Peterson said. “We would certainly be willing, at least on a case-by-case basis, to talk about managing more of those if that helps make the decision to keep them open.”



The board manages and maintains about 10 dams in Grand Forks County, including the Larimore and Fordville Dam recreation areas. According to Tom Perdue, Water Board chairman, the dams were built by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and later given to the Water Board to manage and maintain. While Larimore and Fordville dams historically have been closed to hunting, the Water Board recently decided to expand those restrictions and electronically post the land it owns and manages surrounding the other dams.

Among the reasons cited for closing the lands to hunting were concerns about damage caused by vehicles driving on the dams, the ever-increasing costs of repairing that damage and pressure from adjacent landowners. Combined, the closure affects about 1,200 acres of land that previously was open to public hunting.


“The decision was not an easy one to make,” Perdue said. “Almost all of the dams have erosion problems caused by vehicle traffic. That, (along with) increased liability, the board decided to post our land.”

The vehicle concern is easy to address, Peterson said Wednesday.

“We very much restrict vehicular access even for big game retrieval,” Peterson said of the department’s policy on land it manages. “We don’t allow vehicles on those parcels.”

Motor vehicles are limited to established roads and trails, Peterson said.


“If there’s already a road there, we don’t restrict that, and if there’s a section line trail, we don’t restrict that,” Peterson said. “But that would be considered an established trail.”

In addition, he said, the liability issue only applies to property on which a fee is charged for access.



“It’s our understanding and attorney general opinion that as long as they’re on public land, as long as you’re not charging an access fee, that we are not held liable for anything that happens out there,” Peterson said.

Another option, he said, would be to limit the areas to walk-in access only.

“If we were to manage some of those, we could very easily make them walk-in areas,” Peterson said. “So, we could offer a possible solution to the unwanted vehicle traffic on those dams.”

Charlie Gorecki, an avid Grand Forks sportsman, has hunted public land owned by the Grand Forks Water Board for several years and learned of the ban from a landowner with nearby property.

He attended Wednesday’s meeting in an effort to persuade the Water Board to reconsider its decision.

“I’m here about access, I’m here about protecting the right for my kids and future grandkids to be able to go out and enjoy the outdoors,” Gorecki said. “I don’t know how many acres are available in Grand Forks County for anybody who doesn’t have their own land to hunt, but I recognize that this would remove something like 1,000 acres, which is a huge percentage of the public land that’s in Grand Forks County, from hunters to utilize that public resource that we pay taxes on.

“I’m here to petition you to go the Game and Fish route, go with another option that still allows us to utilize those but then protects the dams from erosion. … I’m supportive of any type of ability that allows us to continue to enjoy that public resource.”

As Peterson told Water Board members Wednesday, any management agreement could be made on a case-by-case basis.



“It’s our responsibility to advocate for our constituents and if that means doing whatever we can to keep those areas open, we’re happy to help,” Peterson said.

Grand Forks County Commissioner Mark Rustad also encouraged the Water Board to reconsider its decision and accept the Game and Fish Department’s proposal.

To lose prime hunting land in the county “would really be a shame,” he said.

Perdue, the Water Board chairman, said the group was advised by its legal counsel not to act on the proposal Wednesday. He said the Water Board would like to have its attorney attend the next meeting, which is set for Wednesday, March 20.

“I can’t really give you a decision at this point, but probably, we would make a decision at that meeting,” he said. “We certainly do value your comments and concerns and share a lot of them.”
This - “ pressure from adjacent landowners.” says It all. Want to bet the board is made up of one or more of these whiney land owners. Wouldn’t the names and comments of these whiney land owners be public record? Publish/post it along with the complaints. do these land owners rent this land and feel it belongs to them or are they trying to use public land as their own little refuge? I will have to dig into this further
 

Obi-Wan

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THE GRAND FORKS COUNTY WATER RESOURCE DISTRICT
151 S. 4th St, Suite 348, Grand Forks, ND 58203
February 21, 2024


The Regular meeting of the GF County Water Resource District was held on February 21, 2024, at the Water Resource District Office. Attending were Tim Farrell, Tom Perdue, Bob Drees, Jim Heider, Tom Durkin, Jerry Pribula, and Kari Lavecchia.

A motion was made by Jim Heider and seconded by Tom Durkin to approve the minutes of February 7, 2021, as read.

A motion to approve the bills was made by Tim Farrell and seconded by Jim Heider. A rollcall vote was taken with all members voting yes.

DateRef No.PayeeMemoPaymentDeposit
02/21/2024 IRSFed Tx 918.66
02/20/202430499Tri County Water 270.00
02/20/202430498Steele County WRDAssessments17,929.88
02/20/202430497PRIBULA PLLC 3,223.75
02/20/202430496Premium Water 31.98
02/20/202430495Polar Communication 596.95
02/20/202430494Nodak Electric 1,550.63
02/20/202430493Houston Engineering 2,489.50
02/20/202430492HDR Engineering Inc 6,040.00
02/20/202430491GF Utility Billing 62.79
02/20/202430490GFC Highway Dept 578.00
02/15/2024DDKARI LAVECCHIAPayroll200.00
02/15/2024DDKARI LAVECCHIAPayroll2,343.23
02/15/2024DDPERRY BELLAHPayroll1,227.51
02/14/2024 Capitol OneCC658.06
02/08/2024 NDSWCCost Share #9 and #5 12,255.00
TOTALS38,120.9412,255.00


In response to John Botsford’s inquiry on the waterflow in Section 17 Chester, the board agreed to recommendation that the township remove one 54” culvert along the north side.

We will be accepting the Strata bid for completing the Larimore bike path. The total local cost will be approximately $80,000.00.

Jerry is working with Nat to come up with a working plan for the new bathhouse to be built at Larimore Dam with projected project start date in 2026.

The board agreed that the letter Jerry wrote to Courtney Rogstad at the ND WRD concerning Brent Schmitz dike application be permitted with the conditions noted in the letter.

We received several drainage complaints from John Arneberg concerning the NW ¼ of Section 1 in Mekinock township against Barbara Danner, Jerald Roach, Brent Schmitz, and Glen Schmitz. His complaint against Brent Schmitz and Glen Schmitz is that they diked off a natural waterway both complaints are identical they allege that Schmitz violated all 3 categories for a complaint. The findings were that Schmitz did not violate the items necessary for a complaint and therefor the complaint was dismissed. Jim Heider made the motion to dismiss the complaints against Glen and Brent and was seconded by Tom Durkin.

The drainage complaint against Barabara Danner who is deceased was dismissed because we cannot address it with the complainant and ultimately the current owners are within their rights to complete maintenance work on their property no permit was required. Tim Farrell made a motion to dismiss this complaint and Tom Durkin seconded it.

Tom Durkin made the motion to dismiss the drainage complaint against Gerald Roach due to no violations found against the complainant, Jim Heider seconded it.

The drainage complaint against GFC Roads and Bridges was dismissed, there is no entity by this name.

The complaints against the GFCWRD and Pribula Engineering will be forwarded to the State Water Commission for their decision.

Gary Jordheim addressed the board with a drainage complaint against Kevin Lee due to the culvert in section 34 of Union Township being plugged. The board agreed to contact Mr. Lee and let him know that he will need to remove the debris and unplug the drain.

Jim Heider made a motion to post all the dams for the 2024 hunting season. Tim Farrell seconded it.

Bob Drees gave a recap on what was discussed at the Drain #4 Coordination Meeting.

Tom Durkin made a motion to adjourn, and Jim Heider seconded it.

Respectfully Submitted,

______________________________
Kari Lavecchia/Secretary-Treasurer

______________________________
Tom Perdue/Chairman
 

Allen

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This - “ pressure from adjacent landowners.” says It all. Want to bet the board is made up of one or more of these whiney land owners. Wouldn’t the names and comments of these whiney land owners be public record? Publish/post it along with the complaints. do these land owners rent this land and feel it belongs to them or are they trying to use public land as their own little refuge? I will have to dig into this further

Could be the golf course out next to Larimore Dam. Can't imagine they'd like people shooting in their general direction. At least, that was the first thing that came to mind when I read the passage you quoted.

I'm not as familiar with some of the other public grounds.
 


scrotcaster

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Could be the golf course out next to Larimore Dam. Can't imagine they'd like people shooting in their general direction. At least, that was the first thing that came to mind when I read the passage you quoted.

I'm not as familiar with some of the other public grounds.
Lot of people playing golf in November ?
 

Allen

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Lot of people playing golf in November ?

I don't golf but once every few years, still...some people I know will golf until the course says they are done for the year. And I'd have to imagine there are groundskeepers out there for at least a few weeks after they close to repair/reseed greens late in the fall.

Anyway, just wanted to point out that not every adjacent landowner is a corn raising Jeff.
 
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Putz ND

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I’ve hunted a few of the areas they have closed. Took my first deer with a bow in one of them. Amazing hunting and an absolute shame that this access has been restricted. Does it surprise anyone that a political appointment has a self serving motivation?
 

Obi-Wan

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I’ve hunted a few of the areas they have closed. Took my first deer with a bow in one of them. Amazing hunting and an absolute shame that this access has been restricted. Does it surprise anyone that a political appointment has a self serving motivation?
Can you elaborate on your final comment
 


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