The St. Louis County Land and Minerals Department held its first timber auction of the year, successfully selling 18 timber contracts for $1,275,774. The winning bidders include small and mid-sized logging companies, as well as large mills. They now have the right to harvest, remove and sell trees from within the designated boundaries of their contract. Timber contracts generally are good for three years, though often have seasonal conditions based on the site.
Contracts for a total of 25 tracts of land, ranging in size from 10 to more than 280 acres and featuring a variety of tree types, were offered for sale by sealed bid. The contracts are on tax forfeited land, which the county is responsible for managing. Timber tracts not purchased at the auction are now available for sale on a first come first served basis through the St. Louis County Land and Minerals Department.
Revenue obtained from the county’s tax forfeited land base go to pay all the expenses of the Land and Minerals Department. Excess revenue is apportioned to the county’s forest development fund and taxing districts such as townships, municipalities and school districts from which the revenue was obtained. A portion also goes to the county’s general fund.
Within St. Louis County there are nearly 900,000 acres of tax forfeited land. Most of the land is maintained for forest management, however, the County also sells parcels that are not planned for management as a way to encourage development and increase the property tax base.
The County will be offering four additional tax forfeited timber auctions this year – an oral auction on May 10, a sealed-bid auction offering tracts for the harvest of ornamental black spruce tops on August 2, an intermediate oral auction on August 16, and an oral auction on November 1. All oral timber auctions are held at the town hall in Cotton.