ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Minnesota and the U.S. Forest Service are closer to solving
a decades-old dispute over 83,000 acres of state-owned land locked up inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

The state has been unable to use the ``school trust lands'' to generate money for public schools since 1978. But $4 million from the $1.3 trillion government funding bill that recently passed Congress is allowing officials to move forward with a plan approved in 2012.

As part of that solution, The Conservation Fund on Wednesday announced it has bought 8,000 acres of high-value private forestlands across northeastern Minnesota. That land will become part of a three-way deal in which the locked-up school trust lands become incorporated into the BWCA, and the state gets land elsewhere that it can manage to benefit schools.