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Lac du Flambeau Town Board looking into alternative routes while continuing negotiations with the Lac du Flambeau Tribe

Katie Thoresen
Wednesday's emergency Town Board meeting in Lac du Flambeau. The board voted to send another letter to Tribal President John Johnson.

The Town of Lac du Flambeau is looking into different route possibilities around roadblocks on Tribal land.

On January 31st, the Lac du Flambeau Tribe put up barriers on four roads on tribal land that block access to private property within the reservation.

The tribe says it’s been trying to negotiate with the town and involved title companies for nearly 10 years after right-of-way agreements ended.

Without a good faith offer, it won’t lift the barriers.

At the last emergency Town Board meeting last week, the Town Board made an offer of around $64,000 dollars to the tribe as well as future gas tax payments for road maintenance on the four roads at the heart of the issue.

That offer was declined by the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Government.

At this week’s town board meeting, Town Chairman Matt Gaulke said the town board will continue to try to get into some type of negotiations with the tribe.

In the meantime, the board voted to direct the town lawyer to look into “condemnation of fee lands for alternative routes on the roads in question.” This is according to draft minutes of the meeting.

In other words, the town wants to consider creating new routes to the block properties, routes that wouldn’t cross tribal trust land and therefore couldn’t be blocked by the tribe.

The board also hired a law firm based in Green Bay to get an opinion on applicable federal law for this situation.

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians put out a statement after the town’s offer last week.

It didn’t directly address the offer but gave insight into how the tribe came to the conclusion it is owed $20 million to resolve the right-of-way issues.

It says it took into account all the fees and expenses the tribe has incurred trying to secure an agreement as well as the cost of illegally using Tribal Lands over the 10 years since the easements expired.

You can read their full statement here.

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