The department of natural resources, for and on behalf of the state, shall acquire a system of nature preserves for the following uses and purposes:
(A) For scientific research in such fields as ecology, taxonomy, genetics, forestry, pharmacology, agriculture, soil science, geology, paleontology, conservation, and similar fields;
(B) For the teaching of biology, natural history, ecology, geology, conservation, and other subjects;
(C) As habitats for plant and animal species and communities and other natural objects;
(D) As reservoirs of natural materials;
(E) As places of natural interest and beauty;
(F) For visitation whereby persons may observe and experience natural biotic and environmental systems of the earth and their processes;
(G) To promote understanding and appreciation of the aesthetic, cultural, scientific, and spiritual values of such areas by the people of the state;
(H) For the preservation and protection of nature preserves against modification or encroachment resulting from occupation, development, or other use that would destroy their natural or aesthetic conditions.
The director of natural resources shall accept natural areas by articles of dedication or gift, provided that funds and services are available for their preservation and protection.
A nature preserve is established when articles of dedication have been filed by or at the direction of the owner of land, or a governmental agency having ownership or control thereof, in the office of the county recorder of the county in which the land is located.
Articles of dedication shall be executed by the owner of the land in the same manner and with the same effect as a conveyance of an interest in land and shall be irrevocable except as provided in this section. The county recorder may not accept articles of dedication for recording unless they have been accepted by the director of natural resources. The director may not accept articles of dedication unless they contain terms restricting the use of the land that adequately provide for its preservation and protection against modification or encroachment resulting from occupation, development, or other use that would destroy its natural or aesthetic conditions for one or more of the uses and purposes set forth in this section. Wherever possible and consistent with such preservation and protection of the land, the articles shall provide for public access in order that the maximum benefit be obtained for the uses and purposes stated in this section.
Articles of dedication may contain provisions for the management, custody, and transfer of land, provisions defining the rights of the owner or operating agency, and the department, and other provisions necessary or advisable to carry out the uses and purposes for which the land is dedicated. They may contain conditions under which the owner and the director of natural resources may agree to rescind the articles.
The attorney general, upon request of the director of natural resources, may bring an action for injunction in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce the terms of articles of dedication.
The department may make or accept amendments of any articles of dedication upon terms and conditions that will not destroy the natural or aesthetic conditions of a preserve. If the fee simple interest in the area or preserve is not held by the state, no amendments shall be made without the written consent of the owner. Each amendment shall be recorded in the same manner as the articles of dedication.
Effective Date: 06-06-2003; 12-30-2004