House Bill HF4780/Senate Bill SF5080


March 30, 2024

To the residents of Minnesota:

I have never had any desire to write a letter to any newspaper or social media site to share my opinions of how I feel about things that are going on in the world until now. Unfortunately, our senators and representatives from areas outside of this part of the state are trying to decide again what they think should be done with public lands in our neck of the woods. Some of you may have already heard about house bill HF4780 and senate bill SF5080. These bills call for giving all of Red Lake State Forest to the Red Lake Nation along with a one mile buffer around the entirety of Upper Red Lake. As it stands right now the bill's wording is vague and it is hard to understand if it would call for removing private landowners from their lands that are within the one mile buffer zone and giving those properties to the tribe as well. Many of you may have heard of the bill to give the White Earth State Forest to the tribes in recent weeks. You may have also seen the news of giving the Upper Sioux Agency State Park to the tribes-over 1,200 acres of land in recent weeks. As I type this letter, I just found out that there is another bill that has been introduced to give public lands bordering Mille Lacs Lake to the tribes as well. For me and my family the Red Lake bill is personal. We have a small cabin on the south side of Upper Red Lake. For most of the residents of this area this does not directly affect you. What will affect you and everyone else that enjoys using public lands is when your favorite piece of public ground-or maybe your privately owned property-is the next piece of property to be given away. Make no mistake, with these newly introduced bills passing, your favorite hunting, fishing, or camping ground could be next. No way am I saying that there weren't things that were done in the past that were wrong. The right way to address these issues is continued talks and actions taken to move forward and repair the damages done in the past. The current process of sneaking these new bills though without any communication or input from the people that it involves is wrong and unacceptable practices for any elected official. For those of you passionate about the outdoors and your right to use our properties for what we love please reach out to our elected officials. Search this subject online and you will see which ones need to be contacted. Let them know how you feel!


Keith Buley and family


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