64 Acres Near Northwoods Protected (MN)

Cass County, MN, 12/29/05: — The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today the protection of nearly 64 acres of ecologically-sensitive land near Hackensack, Minnesota. The land conservation organization acquired the Cass County property earlier today and conveyed it to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR will designate and manage the property as an Aquatic Management Area to preserve habitat for fish and wildlife. In the future, the site will be open to the public for fishing, hunting, and other light use outdoor activities.

This community located near Leech Lake is a popular Northwoods destination facing increasing pressures from second-home development. Riparian lands located along bodies of water like the Boy River and Ten Mile Lake are particularly sensitive, and have a direct effect on the ecological processes of rivers and lakes. Development of such lands can negatively affect not only the aesthetic value of the area, but the wellbeing of fish, wildlife, and water.

“Riparian lands link land and water ecosystems,” says Harlan Fierstine, area supervisor of the DNR Division of Fisheries. “By conserving significant tracts of land along the river such as this, we help protect water quality, wildlife, and the natural beauty that attracts people to this area.”

This property contains over 1,375 feet of lakeshore on Ten Mile Lake and over 1,500 feet of the headwaters of the Boy River. It provides important spawning habitat for fish and significant habitat for bear, loons, deer and other wildlife.

“Conserving this land not only protects habitat but also helps ensure water quality for those downstream,” says TPL Project Manager Bob McGillivray. “TPL is pleased to be a part of this effort.”

Over the last year the DNR and two local nonprofit groups-the Ten Mile Lake Association and the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation-explored acquiring the property. Last summer TPL was asked to help and quickly obtained an option to purchase the property. Funding this acquisition involved using Critical Habitat License Plate funds matched by a substantial TPL donation, a $5,000 contribution by the Ten Mile Lake Association, $1,000 from the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, a $500 contribution by the Northstar Sportsman Club, and $500 from the Birch Lake Association.

Al Griggs, president of the Ten Mile Lake Association comments, “When this property came up for sale, the Ten Mile Lake Association saw a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve this unique riparian tract. Unfortunately the Association alone was unable to achieve this goal. When we were invited to partner with the DNR and TPL to obtain this property, our Board unanimously voted to contribute. This is a wonderful occasion and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national, nonprofit land-conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Established in 1972, TPL is the only national nonprofit working exclusively to protect land for public enjoyment and use. In Minnesota, TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres valued at more than $50 million including the recent protection of Pilot Knob in Mendota Heights, the 475-acre DNR State Aquatic and Wildlife Management Area on the Vermillion River in Dakota County, the 3,100 acre Brainerd Lakes Forest Legacy Conservation Easement, the Caponi Art Park in Eagan, an addition to the future Neenah Creek Regional Park in St. Cloud, and the Point Douglas trail near Hastings. TPL depends on contributions from supporters to continue protecting land throughout the state. Visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org