The commissioner shall make thorough inquiry into the extent, character, and value of the timber on all state lands and shall take such measures as will protect the timber from damage or loss by fire, trespass, or otherwise; and make such rules, in conformity with the other provisions of this chapter, for the care and control of the lands and for the sale of the timber thereon, as will best protect the interests of the state.
The commissioner may compromise and settle, with the approval of the attorney general, upon terms the commissioner deems just, any claim of the state for casual and involuntary trespass upon state lands or timber; provided that no claim shall be settled for less than the full value of all timber or other materials taken in casual trespass or the full amount of all actual damage or loss suffered by the state as a result. The commissioner shall advise the Executive Council of any information acquired by the commissioner concerning any trespass on state lands, giving all details and names of witnesses and all compromises and settlements made under this subdivision.
The commissioner may contract as part of the timber sale with the purchaser of state timber at either informal or auction sale for the following forest improvement work to be done on the land included within the sale area: preparation of the site for seeding or planting of seedlings or trees, seeding or planting of seedlings or trees, and other activities relating to forest regeneration. A contract issued under this subdivision is not subject to the competitive bidding provisions of chapter 16C and is exempt from the contract approval provisions of section 16C.05, subdivision 2.
The commissioner may sell at public auction timber that has been damaged by fire, windstorm, flood, or other natural cause on notice that the commissioner considers reasonable when there is a high risk that the salvage value of the timber would be lost.
The commissioner may declare an emergency in the event of a catastrophe caused by fire, windstorm, flood, insect, disease, or other natural cause. In the event of an emergency declaration, the commissioner may grant an extension, without penalty or interest, on an existing permit for standing timber if the permit holder has entered into a purchase agreement to harvest timber damaged by the natural catastrophe.
The commissioner may declare an emergency in the event of widespread abnormal surface conditions that prevent the proper and timely harvest of existing permits for standing timber. In the event of an emergency declaration, the commissioner may grant extensions, without penalty or interest, and may modify the terms and conditions of existing permits for standing timber to allow for the harvest of the standing timber in an environmentally sound manner under favorable surface conditions.