Should hunting be allowed in Minnesota’s Scientific and Natural Areas?

The Department of Natural Resources is in the process of opening some of the state’s 160 designated Scientific and Natural Areas to hunting and trapping. The areas currently don’t allow pets, camping or swimming.

The Star Tribune’s Tony Kennedy interviewed former DNR managers Bob Djupstrom and Ellen Fuge about the land use change.

“These are jewels of the natural world,’’ Djupstrom said. “They should be left alone.’’

Despite growing opposition, the Department of Natural Resources plans to open more of the sites to hunting and trapping. Townsend Woods is one of 10 under review for such a change, while three other SNAs, all south of the Twin Cities, were quietly approved as hunting grounds starting in 2012.

“It’s so ridiculous to mess with these sites,’’ Fuge said. “The whole point is to protect their natural processes.”

Fuge and Djupstrom are retired Department of Natural Resources managers who fostered the SNA network during long careers. Now they are fighting from outside the agency to block what they consider an attack on the program’s longtime mission — protecting the biological integrity of some of Minnesota’s ecological treasures.

Today’s Question: Should hunting be allowed in Minnesota’s Scientific and Natural Areas?