Skip Navigation

BSU News - Optivation


Oct. 20 natural resource presentation to discuss legislation of specialty forest products

BEMIDJI, Minn.Mimi Barzen will discuss the specialty forest industry and related legislation during a 3 p.m. program Monday, Oct. 20, at the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation, located at 3801 Bemidji Avenue North.

Part of the Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium series, the 90-minute presentation is open to the public at no charge.

Primarily items harvested for non-lumber interests, Minnesota’s specialty forest products encompass both large-scale industries and mom-and-pop operations in such areas as crafts, food and unique wood products. Many are intended for niche markets and are seasonal in nature, including such items as birch bark baskets, mushrooms, medicinal herbs and holiday decorations.

A forester with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for more than 27 years, Barzen will provide background into such specialty forest products as balsam boughs, Christmas trees and ground pine, another plant used in Christmas ornamentation.

Minnesota is a leader in the production of holiday wreaths with estimated annual sales exceeding $20 million. The wreaths, which are sold nation-wide commerically and by non-profits as fundraisers, are made primarly of balsam boughs.

“While it is a short season, it is big business with several large wreath makers in the state,” Barzen said. “The presentation may interest people wishing to pick boughs and those who would like more information about this cottage industry.”

Barzen will also discuss several proposed legislative changes forwarded to the DNR for consideration, including a proposed reduction in the maximum weight of product that might be purchased without a license and the clarification of the difference betwen a bough harvesting permit and a bough buyer’s license.

Barzen is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in forestry. She has spent her career working in the Deer River and Grand Rapids areas.

The presentation is part of an ongoing series of Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium programs usually offered on the third Monday of each month. While covering topics of general interest, the sessions are designed for professionals working in the natural resource area and may be technical in nature.

Groups participating in organizing the consortium include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Chippewa National Forest, Leech Lake Division of Resource Management, Ainsworth and the Red Lake Reservation.

Individuals who wish to be added to the Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium mailing list or have questions about this program should contact the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation at (218) 755-4900; toll free, (888) 738-3224; e-mail,; or at

Oct. 20
- 3 p.m. - Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation hosts Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium presentantion, “Legislation of Specialty Forest Products.” Presenter: Mimi Barzen, forester, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Location: CRI; 3801 Bemidji Ave. N.; Bemidji, Minn. Cost: free. For information: (218) 755-4900; (888) 738-3224;

About Bemidji State University Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,000 students, the University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate programs encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. The University is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. University signature themes include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and global and multi-cultural understanding. For further information about the University, visit Become a fan of Bemidji State University on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.