Minnesota celebrates Public Lands Day, IMA celebrates iron ore’s contributions to state

Posted August 31, 2018

Minnesota celebrates Public Lands Day, IMA celebrates iron ore’s contributions to state

Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed today Public Lands Day, celebrating Minnesota’s public lands’ contribution to the state economy and as “the backbone of outdoor recreation and tourism in Minnesota.”

In addition to recreation, Minnesota’s 5.6 million acres of state lands are also used by the timber and iron mining industries.

“The state’s public land base contributes significantly to local economies by supporting timber and mineral production while providing wild places for recreation and tourism, habitat for hundreds of species of fish and wildlife, and important ecological services like clean air and water,” said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Tom Landwehr.

Iron Mining Association of Minnesota (IMA) President Kelsey Johnson notes Minnesota’s public land use is a great example of industry and tourism working hand-in-hand.

“One of the things that makes Minnesota so special is we have some of the cleanest water and best recreation opportunities in the nation, and we also supply more than 80% of domestic iron ore,” Johnson said.

According to the DNR, state-owned mineral royalties generate millions of dollars each year for Minnesota’s Public School and University Trust Funds. It is estimated these funds account for around $30 per Minnesota public school student each year, Johnson added.

“Though we mine iron ore on both public and private land, we mine iron ore on less than 1 percent of Minnesota’s land total,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing that such a small amount of land accounts for the majority of domestic iron ore mined and also has such a large economic impact on the state’s economy.”

For more information on the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, visit www.taconite.org. For more information on Minnesota’s iron mining industry, visit www.minnesotairon.org.  More information about Minnesota’s state-managed public lands and the DNR’s strategic land asset management approach can be found at mndnr.gov/publiclands.