In the continuing saga of a proposed championship golf course and hotel complex at Duluth’s Spirit Mountain, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently suspended the authorization process for the proposed conversion of state Land Water Conservation Fund lands that is necessary before the project can proceed.
The City was told that the DNR process will not move forward again until the City makes it clear that there is agreement among city leadership that the conversion request for the project is the desire of both local branches (Mayor and City Council) of government.
Minnesota DNR Commissioner Allen Garber stated, “[T]he project is obviously a very controversial one for the city and it is no longer clear to the DNR what the interests and needs of the city are. We have received and observed conflicting messages from elected leaders and staff. . . .While the city asserts that the Mayor, as authorized by the city charter, has a right to pursue proposals, the DNR must assert its right to require that such proposals have the demonstrated support of the city’s elected leaders from both branches.”
So, for the immediate future, the old growth forest and urban trout stream are safe, but probably only until the work permit issue arises again in June. In the meantime, citizens continue to advocate on behalf of the forest and stream. It’s not over yet.