Colfax school board approves Colfax Sno-drifters request for school property easement

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The Colfax Board of Education has approved a request from the Colfax Sno-drifters for an easement on school property near Evergreen Cemetery for one snowmobile bridge, and possibly two bridges.

The school board approved a ten-year agreement for the snowmobile bridge at the March 22 meeting.

Dave Buchner, representing the Colfax Sno-drifters, spoke to the school board about the easement for a snowmobile trail during the public comments portion of the February 20 meeting. 

The intersection of state Highway 40 and county Highway M represents a safety issue, Buchner said at the February meeting. 

A bridge for the snowmobile trail will be needed for the stream across the road from Sampson Funeral Home and for Eighteen Mile Creek, Buchner said. 

A grant is available from the state Department of Natural Resources for the bridges, but the application must be submitted by April 1, and the Sno-drifters need an agreement with the property owner for a minimum of three years for the application for a bridge grant, he said. 

After the bridges are built, they become the property of the county, and the school district has no liability for the the bridges or for the snowmobile trail, Buchner said.

According to the agreement, “the landowner agrees to allow a minimum of 10 years, 10 public use periods of the use of the bridge for crossing Eighteen Mile Creek on a state snowmobile corridor. A public use period is defined as November through April of each year. If after 10 years either party requests to terminate the agreement for just cause, a 60 day notice will be required. The landowner agrees to allow Dunn County to remove the bridge if this land use agreement is terminated for any reason.”

The snowmobile bridge must be approved by the state Department of Natural Resources, but before the DNR can approve the bridge, permission is needed from the school board for an easement, said Bill Yingst, district administrator.

The state statute for snowmobile trails protects private land owners and schools from any liability associated with the bridges, he said.

According to information included in the school board packet, the easement involves 3.75 acres of school district property. 

After ten years, the agreement can be reviewed, Yingst noted.

The issue of an easement for a snowmobile bridge was not on the agenda at the February 20 meeting, but the item was on the agenda for the school board’s March 22 meeting, which still left time to submit the application for a bridge grant to the DNR by the April 1 deadline.

The Colfax Board of Education unanimously approved the land use permit granting an easement for a snowmobile bridge on school district property.