Publish date:

Small group has been illegally camping in northern Minnesota forest for 'months'

Dispersed camping isn't allowed in Minnesota for more than 14 days in the summer.

A group of campers has been living for months in Beltrami Island State Forest in violation of the state's dispersed camping law. 

According to the Minnesota DNR's conservation officer weekly report from Aug. 9, conservation officers Ben Huener and Jeremy Woinarowicz investigated a complaint of three campers in a dispersed camping area of the northern Minnesota forest who'd been there for "multiple" months.

Woinarowicz said in his report the three campers had "taken on the area as their own and had multiple state forest violations, including cutting live trees, litter and violating the dispersed camping length of stay."

In Minnesota, dispersed camping is limited to 14 days in any one section, township, and range in the summer months, according to state law.

Joe Albert, the DNR's enforcement division communications coordinator, told Bring Me The News on Monday the conservation officers are "still trying to gain compliance from the campers but note difficulty in making contact with them."

Other campers and staff members in the DNR Forestry Division informed the DNR Enforcement Division of the campers. 

At this time, no citations have been issued, Albert said. 

"Generally speaking, these rules are meant to address the problem of either someone staying too long, protecting the equal opportunity side of things (someone keeping a great spot for themselves all summer, someone claiming a spot early in the fall and keeping it though deer season) or someone basically living out in our public lands," Albert said. 

Garbage and water are also a big concern with prolonged dispersed camping because campers often leave their mess behind in the forest when they finally do leave, he noted.

"This year we’re also dealing with people burning during the burn restrictions, which is dangerous due to the extreme dry conditions," Albert added. 

Here is the DNR's website on dispersed camping in Minnesota state forests.

Beltrami Island State Forest is a 703,382-acre state forest in Lake of the Woods, Roseau and Beltrami counties. It's the second-largest state forest in the Minnesota system, and contains the headwaters for five rivers, as well as the state's largest Wildlife Management Area. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 6.56.30 PM

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for central MN, part of Twin Cities

A line of storms is making its way across the state.

Flickr - Enbridge Line 3 Palisade - Lorie Shaull

DNR orders Enbridge to pay $3.32M over Line 3 environmental violations

The pipeline company breached a groundwater aquifer, causing water to flow uncontrolled into a trench.

Eric Kendricks

Eric Kendricks misses practice, lands on injury report

The star linebacker headlines a lengthy list ahead of Week 2.

WIkimedia commons covid vaccine moderna

3 Twin Cities counties reach 16+ vaccination rate of 80%

More than 8 in 10 residents of that age group have gotten at least one dose.

Flickr - Burlington store exterior -

New Burlington location opens in Minneapolis Friday

To celebrate, the company is donating $50K to a neighborhood group and nearby school.

Top Ten Liquors Minnetonka rendering

Top Ten Liquors plans another Twin Cities location

The high-end wine bar and grocery space would take over a former Champps.

London Michael Bean go fund me

Teen charged with fatal shooting of 12-year-old London Bean

A warrant has been issued for the 18-year-old's arrest.

Minnesota Wild

Wild announce national TV broadcast schedule

The Wild will have 13 games nationally televised this season

suni lee

St. Paul's Suni Lee named to Time's list of 100 Most Influential People

Lee won three medals at the Tokyo Olympics, including an all-around gold.

Dunn County WI homicide suspect

1 arrested in quadruple killing, with 'armed and dangerous' suspect at large

The four victims were found in an abandoned SUV in rural Wisconsin.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Rape, incest suspect from Indiana is caught in St. Cloud

The 40-year-old was found in an apartment building.

Rep Tim Miller mn leg

MN rep calls upholding of TX abortion law 'great news for America'

Rep. Tim Miller also outlined a new abortion-related bill he plans to introduce.

Related

campfire

Ban on campfires lifted at most Superior National Forest campgrounds

The Forest Service has loosened fire restrictions amid the change in seasons.

fall foilage leaves lutsen

Here's what the drought means for fall colors in Minnesota this year

Maybe plan your leaf-peeping trips earlier than normal this year.

split rock lighthouse

Minnesota campground named among the Top 10 in the US

The spot on the North Shore came in at No. 5.

Flickr - camping tent William O'Brien State Park - Tony Webster

After a year indoors, people are flocking to MN state parks and campgrounds

Campsite occupancy rates and annual state park permit sales are up.