A proposed EcoCenter for outdoor learning, research and creative activities from biology to creative writing will likely be built in Eagle Lake Township south of Battle Lake.

This would be a cooperative effort with the University of Minnesota, Morris.

The property, as described to county commissioners by township resident Les Bensch, includes rivers, lakes, prairie grasses, farmland, hunting land and wetlands.

However, Bensch and others feel there is a need to go back to the drawing board after a preliminary plan for a facility was submitted by university officials.

“We have concerns for the cost, location and effects on a nearby wetland,” said Bensch who with his wife Bette operates the nearby Viking Valley Hunt Club.

Bensch plans to serve the new EcoCenter as a senior fellow sustainability teaching specialist.

State Rep. Bud Nornes of Fergus Falls, also speaking to county commissioners, agreed with Bensch about the need for a less costly option relying on private donations instead of state dollars.

“A new plan would also include a more environmentally friendly manner in Eagle Lake Township,” said Nornes.

County Land and Resource Director Bill Kalar indicated that the project would require environmental review by the county prior to construction. This would be the county’s opportunity to review the project prior to construction.