Officials with the state Department of Natural Resources have decided against expanding hunting in some of Minnesota's scientific and natural areas.
DNR officials announced today that they would not loosen hunting restrictions in 10 of the 159 areas known as SNAs. The areas are protected because they contain rare native plants and undisturbed shorelines.
However, the DNR will allow deer hunting without a permit during the regular season on portions of the protected area at Lake Alexander Woods in Morrison County. Currently deer hunting is allowed only with a special permit.
The DNR also will allow dogs on leashes at Minnesota Point Pine Forest in Duluth, consistent with a city ordinance.
Department leaders had hoped that opening the natural areas to hunting, trapping and dog walking might help boost public support and funding, which has declined in recent years.
The agency based its decision not to do so on more than 100 comments, most of which opposed the changes.