The DNR manages the school trust lands to ensure the permanent school fund is getting the best long-term economic return. The Minnesota Legislature established the 12 member Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission (Minnesota Statutes, Section 127A.30) to advise the DNR and the school trust lands director on the management of permanent school fund land, which is held in trust for the school districts of the state and to review legislation affecting permanent school fund land.
The commission is required to review statutes and recommend any changes necessary for provident utilization of school trust lands, and to report annually to the legislature with recommendations for management of school trust fund lands to secure long-term economic return for the permanent school fund.
The DNR regularly reports to the LPSFC on its management of the school trust land.
The Division of Forestry manages the surface and timber on the school trust lands. Approximately 1.5 million acres of school trust lands are considered commercial forest lands while the remaining 1 million acres are non-commercial or non-forest lands (i.e. unproductive bog forest, lowland brush, grass, marsh, and water). The school trust lands are managed along with other state lands totaling 5.6 million acres.
Timber sales account for most of the revenue generated from the surface of school trust lands. In addition to timber sales, surface revenue is generated from real estate leases, utility licenses, easements, land sales, and forest campground fees.
The Division of Forestry is responsible for the administrative duties of managing the timber and surface which includes:
The Divisions of Forestry and Lands & Minerals work together in drafting, negotiating, and administering leases, utility licenses, and easements on school trust lands.
The Division of Lands & Minerals manages approximately 3.5 million acres of school trust mineral rights, which includes about 1 million acres of severed mineral rights.
Rents and royalties from iron ore/taconite leases are the largest contributor of revenue to the permanent school fund. On average the percentage of revenues that comes from iron ore/taconite leases is approximately 95 percent of the total mineral lease revenue. In addition to iron ore/taconite leases, revenue is also generated from non-ferrous metallic minerals, peat, industrial minerals, and other mineral leases.
The Division of Lands & Minerals is responsible for the administrative duties of managing mineral resources which include: