1.0451 LIMITS ON CONSENT TO FEDERAL ACQUISITIONS OF LANDS IN ST.
LOUIS, LAKE, AND COOK COUNTIES; WATER AND LAND OWNERSHIP; DUTIES
OF STATE OFFICIALS.
Subdivision 1. Ownership of navigable waters and beds.
Pursuant to applicable federal
and state law under which Minnesota was admitted to the union on equal footing with the original
13 states, navigable waters and their beds located within the exterior boundaries of the state are
owned by the state. In a few limited circumstances, as in section
, relating to the Upper
Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the state has expressly granted its consent and concurrent
jurisdiction to the United States to acquire interests in water, as well as land, for a limited purpose
and in the limited area described in its consent. Unlike section
, the consent granted by the
state in section
to acquisitions by the United States for the Superior National Forest is
limited to land, only. The state has never ceded to the United States, either expressly or implicitly,
its ownership of and jurisdiction over the navigable waters and their beds that are located within
the exterior boundaries of the forest.
Subd. 2. State ownership of and jurisdiction over certain lands.
Pursuant to the Organic
Act that created the territory of Minnesota (Act of Congress, March 3, 1849, 9 Stat. ch. 121,
section 18), and the Enabling Act that authorized the people of the territory of Minnesota to
establish the state of Minnesota (Act of Congress, February 26, 1857, 11 Stat. ch. 60, section 5,
first paragraph), federal public domain lands located in sections 16 and 36 in every township at the
time of statehood were granted to the state for the use of schools, together with equivalent land
located in other sections if section 16 or 36 had been disposed of before statehood. In conformity
with the terms of the federal grant, the citizens of Minnesota, by Constitution, article XI, section 8,
have dedicated the proceeds from the sale or other disposition of these school grant lands, and the
proceeds from the sale or other disposition of lands subsequently received from the United States
under swampland grants, to public school purposes. By Constitution, article XI, sections 8 and 10,
the disposition of school and swampland grant lands, frequently referred to as trust fund lands,
is limited to sale at public auction or exchange. Roughly 100,000 acres of state-owned, mostly
trust fund land, is located within that portion of the Superior National Forest that is described
as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Much of this state-owned trust fund land, as
well as other state-owned land that is tax-forfeited and is held in trust for local taxing districts, is
high-value lakeshore land. The state has not disposed of these lands to the United States and has
not ceded jurisdiction over these lands, either expressly or implicitly, to the United States.
Subd. 3. Duties of constitutional officers and other state officials.
In the discharge of their
official duties, the governor, attorney general, other constitutional officers, and other public
officials, such as the commissioner of natural resources, shall vigorously assert and defend, in all
forums, the state's ownership of and jurisdiction over the navigable waters and their beds, the
state trust fund lands and lands held in trust for local taxing districts located in the Superior
National Forest, the natural resources related to these lands, waters, and beds, and the associated
rights of the state and its citizens arising from the state's ownership and jurisdictional interests in
these lands, waters, and beds. In furtherance of their duties, the governor, attorney general, other
constitutional officers, and other public officials shall, additionally, be especially cognizant of the
free rights of travel afforded to citizens of Minnesota and others under the Webster-Ashburton
Treaty (proclaimed November 10, 1842) and the Root-Bryce Treaty (proclaimed May 13, 1910)
on international and associated boundary waters. Also, in furtherance of their duties, in any
exchange or other disposition of state-owned land located within the Boundary Waters Canoe
Area Wilderness, the governor, attorney general, state auditor, commissioner of natural resources,
and any other public official involved in such matters shall be especially cognizant of the high
value of the lakeshore and other state land located within the area.
History: 1995 c 124 s 1