LCCMR Approves Four Million Dollars to a National Loon Center
“The loon represents outdoor recreation and spending time with family,” Matt Kilian the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce President said. “It’s something that we treasure and we really want to preserve here in Minnesota.”
What better way to preserve the state bird than with an educational and interactive center dedicated to the loon.
“When people come in, we want it highly interactive,” Kilian said. “So that they’re not just reading plaques and seeing these static displays, but they are actually able to interact with the loon and with the outdoors.”
The idea started when a group of citizens from Crosslake got together to discuss what they could do for the community. Then they were able to get support for the Loon Center from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce.
“The loon center would be a treasure that we think would attract people from all over the United States,” Kilian said.
Then the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) got involved.
“The important step that just happened recently, is that the LCCMR commission looked at this project, said it was a great project, and “BAM” 4 million bucks,” Dale Lueck the State’s District 10B Representative said.
The LCCMR is committed to funding special environment and natural resource projects.
“This is a larger scale project, I would say the average appropriation is in the neighborhood of 1 million dollars, so a 4-million-dollar appropriation is pretty significant from the LCCMR,” Josh Heintzeman the State’s District 10A Representative said. “I think this project falls well within the criteria or preserving and protecting the natural waters and environment around us.”
The loon is not on the endangered species list yet, but each year it is becoming more and more at risk. The hope with this new center is that the public will be more inclined to help protect the state’s bird.
“A lot of people have this idea that the bird is prolific and there’s nothing to worry about,” Representative Heintzeman said. “But of course there’s threats in other parts of the country that are having an impact on the population.
The proposed location for the center is on the U.S Army corps of Engineers land at the Crosslake campground a great spot for children to get interested in wildlife.
“We want to bring our kids somewhere they can have a good time, and at the same opportunity take advantage of that learning aspect,” Representative Heintzeman said.
The next step is for the bill to get passed by state legislation, and then a signature is needed by the governor. If approved the Loon Center will not be complete for at least two more years.