ROCHESTER – Want a park of your own?
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers the opportunity to do so. Kind of.
The DNR is holding a public land auction in Rochester on October 21. The department holds public land auctions each fall. This year, parcels for sale in Anoka and Houston counties will be offered at an in-person auction.
According to DNR property data sheets, a 50-foot-wide strip of land in the bluffs of the Driftless area southwest of Houston and south of the Root River lies on the block. The land is across from a larger parcel of land owned by MNR and is surrounded by private land.
A small parcel in Anoka County is up for sale to resolve a private building encroachment on state land.
DNR’s mission is to conserve and manage the state’s natural resources while providing Minnesotans with opportunities for outdoor recreation. Public lands and parks play a key role in this mission. So why sell public land to individuals?
The DNR manages 5.6 million acres of land in Minnesota. According to Andrea Johnson, DNR’s real estate program coordinator, not all of this land is being used in current and future DNR plans.
Johnson said land sold generally no longer serves conservation or recreation needs. These types of land parcels are often isolated from larger management areas or parcels, or sold to resolve management use conflicts.
“People who buy vacant land often use the parcel for hunting or other recreational purposes or as additional property if purchased by adjacent landowners,” Johnson said.
The old lands by the lake are popular places for cabins or places where people park caravans, she added.
Occasionally, but not often, the land sold is accompanied by infrastructure.
“On rare occasions we sell a former office site or other building, it may be used for a hunting camp or a small business,” Johnson said.
The Oct. 21 auction is in-person, but during COVID-19 online auctions have grown in popularity and spurred additional bidding. This year, two in-person auctions, one in Olmsted County on October 21 and one in Wadena County on October 14 are taking place.
What: Public land auction.
When: 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 21, 2022,
Where: Minnesota Department of Transportation Southeast District Headquarters, 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester.