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Threat to Prairie Smoke Dunes Scientific and Natural Area in Norman County

     It has recently come to our attention that the DNR has agreed to hold a public hearing to change the Commissioner’s Order regarding Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA at the request of Norman County. The County wants a parking area constructed and road access approximately ¼ mile into the northern part of the SNA. Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA was established to protect outstanding examples of sand dune, oak savanna and oak forest communities as well as populations of rare, threatened or endangered plant species, including Annual Skeleton-Weed (Lygodesmia rostrata), Indian rice-grass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), Purple Sand-grass (Triplasis purpurea), and Western Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera praeclara) which we have chosen as our logo.  

     Unbeknown to the Friends of Minnesota SNA, the DNR and the County have been discussing this for some time. The SNA is already served by two parking areas and has adequate public road frontage.  The proposal, if approved, would set an adverse precedent for other SNAs.

     A date for the hearing has not been set. Stay tuned for further updates and requests for action once a public hearing date has been set.

Western Prairie Fringed Orchid; photo by
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