Update: Governor Dayton agrees to meet with bear researcher over DNR restrictions


The Northland News Center reports that Dr. Lynn Rogers, a world famous bear researcher based in Ely, indicated that Governor Mark Dayton has now agreed to meet with him about restrictions imposed on his work by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Dr. Rogers posted this statement on his blog on BearStudy.org:

"We received a message back from Governor Mark Dayton’s office saying the governor is looking forward to meeting with us. We’re now trying to find out how soon that can happen. Time is of the essence. We should know more on Friday."

Last month, the DNR decided not to renew his permits to radio-collar wild bears and place video cameras in their dens. The ruling came because officials say Rogers has created a public safety issue by making wild bears too comfortable around humans. The DNR ordered Rogers to remove radio collars from his study bears by July 31. Rogers said the DNR restrictions would end of his 46-year career.

Ely's Mayor Ross Petersen says when the DNR made their decision not to renew Dr. Rogers permit, they didn't take into account how much revenue the bear center has on the local economy. The Ely City Council Tuesday voted to ask the DNR and Dayton to reinstate Rogers’ permits. Peterson estimates roughly $1 million comes into Ely through tourism dollars from the North American Bear Center, a tourist attraction Rogers helped found.

Donations to a legal fund started by his supporters topped $9,000 as of Wednesday. Around 5,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org asking the DNR to change its mind.

“What I’m looking for is just plain fairness,” said Rogers.

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