Tax Forfeit Land Classifications & Memorial Forest


Land classification is an important step in determining and encouraging the best use of tax-forfeited lands.  Through land classification, it is recognized that some lands in public ownership should be retained and managed for public benefits while other lands should be returned to private ownership.

Minnesota Statute 282.01 states that counties must classify their tax-forfeited lands as either conservation or non-conservation.  Within those two classifications the retention and management objectives of the land can be further defined. 

On February 16, 2010, the Pine County Board passed the land classification resolution available in document form at the bottom of this page.  This resolution marks the first use of the Conservation/Memorial Forest classification by Pine County and serves as a wholesale classification of all tax forfeit lands in County control at that time.

Conservation Classification:

Conservation - This designation is requires County Board action and is reserved for those lands with timber management or resource potential that may be long and/or mid term.  Conservation lands are utilized for resource harvest including gravel and timber and are evaluated for future conversion to non-conservation or memorial forest depending on the long term management potential and public benefits. 

By resolution of the County Board on February 16, 2010, Pine County classified 2,449 acres of its tax-forfeited lands as Conservation lands.

Conservation/Memorial Forest - This designation requires County Board action and is reserved for those lands with the best forestry timber management and resource potential pursuant to Minnesota Statute 459.06.  Memorial Forest lands are also intended for long term multi-purpose and recreational use benefiting the public.   

By resolution of the County Board on February 16, 2010, Pine County classified 31,522 acres of its tax-forfeited lands into Conservation/Memorial Forest.  This Memorial Forest classification is an extension of the basic Conservation classification that greatly assists the County Land Department in establishing the management directions for the land. 

In recommending the Memorial Forest classification, Land Department staff considered the long term retention of the lands; consolidated efficient management of the lands; and lands that meet three of these five criteria:

  • Large acreage
  • Timber/resource potential
  • Management access
  • Environmental uniqueness
  • Public recreation value

Conservation / Memorial Forests are not intended for sale and can not be sold unelss re-classified by the County Board as non-conservation.   Pine County Memorial Forest lands are identified in the 2017 Plat Book available at the Pine County Recorders office.  



Non-conservation lands are considered for:

  • limited retention and resource harvest; 
  • land exchange "trade" for equal valued land; and/or 
  • short term retention and disposal through public sale. 

By resolution of the County Board on February 16, 2010, Pine County classified all tax forfeit lands not specifically identified as Conservation or Conservation/Memorial as Non-conservation.  Approximately 14,028 acres of Pine County tax forfeited lands are identified as Non-conservation. 

Non-conservation lands are intended to return to private ownership when the the short term management objectives have been carried out.  Pine County generally offers a selection of non-conservation forfeit lands at an annual fall land auction.     

County Board resolution and list of Conservation and Conservation/Memorial lands.

Land Department Contacts

Greg Beck, Land Commissioner/County Forester 
(Tax forfeit land, land sales, timber harvest and forestry inquires)

Joe Kelash, Land Management Technician
(Tax forfeit land management and sales, forest management, and forest inventory)

Land Department
1610 State Hwy 23 N
Sandstone, MN 55072