158 Acres Along Zumbro River Protected (MN)

St. Paul, MN – Nov. 7, 2006: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today the transfer to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of 158 acres of bluffs and river bottomland on the Zumbro River in Wabasha County near Kellogg, Minnesota.

The acquisition connects the Zumbro Bottoms and Kruger Recreational Units of the Richard J. Dorer State Forest, creating a contiguous block of public land of more than 4000 acres in size and including more than nine miles of the Zumbro River. The area is now one of the largest blocks of floodplain forest in southeast Minnesota providing critical habitat for many species of wildlife and fish. The hardwood forest enclave contains many high quality natural communities and areas ranked high in biodiversity.

“Not only does this acquisition connect and protect natural resources on two important existing natural areas,” said TPL Project Manager Bob McGillivray, “it also provides outstanding public recreational and educational opportunities for activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and wildlife observation.”

TPL began discussions in February with owner Frank Joy Spooner who has farmed land in the area since the 1940s. He will retain a portion of the land where his house and several farm buildings are located.

“The Trust for Public Land was able to act quickly and satisfy the landowner’s timing needs,” said Terry Helbig of the Minnesota DNR’s Division of Forestry. “As a result we will be able to improve habitat for many species of wildlife and fish, reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the Mississippi and increase public access to this natural treasure.” The DNR has significant restoration plans for the property including planting native trees and reestablishing native plant communities.

The approximately $460,000 purchase price was funded by the DNR’s Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Matching program ($250,000) and the Minnesota DNR Remediation Fund Grant Program ($185,000), with the balance coming from DNR Forestry funds. The RIM matching funds were made available by The Nature Conservancy and TPL on prior conservation transactions where a donation or partial donation of land value was made to the DNR.

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places. Established in 1972, TPL is the only national nonprofit organization working exclusively to protect land for public enjoyment and use. In Minnesota, TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres valued at more than $60 million including the recent protection of Caponi Art Park in Eagan, an addition to the future Neenah Creek Regional Park in St. Cloud, the creation of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary east of downtown St. Paul and the most prominent portion of historic Pilot Knob in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.

TPL’s work depends on the generous support of donors and volunteers who share our mission of conserving land for people to create more livable communities. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money, Money, Forbes, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy have all rated TPL among the most efficient charities in the United States for keeping fundraising and operation costs low while meeting mission goals.