The family who donated land to the state Department of Natural Resources in 1974 so it would be preserved says they will pursue legal action after the land was sold recently.
The Pioneer Press reported that the DNR sold the former Jackson Wildlife Management Area near Stillwater on Thursday for $190,000. DNR officials said there was nothing in the deed for the land that prohibited officials from selling it.
The descendants of Archibald and Margaret Jackson are exploring their legal options.
"This is a huge travesty that is completely incompatible with the wishes of my grandparents and the intent of the gift to the state," Margaret Jackson Schoeller, one of the couple's granddaughters, told MPR's Morning Edition on Friday. "It was their intention that this land never be developed."
Schoeller said her family asked the DNR to halt the sale, but the DNR maintained its stance that they had a right to sell the land. Schoeller said the family is now considering legal action.
DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten told Morning Edition that the 28 acres of woodland, ponds and wetland was just one piece of land that the DNR decided to sell in order to meet a legislative mandate to sell more than $6 million worth of land by June.
While Holsten said DNR officials are sympathetic to the Jackson family, he said the department's hands were tied.
"They're very attached to this specific parcel," Holsten said. "There's not a lot we can do."
(The Associated Press and MPR's Cathy Wurzer contributed to this report.)