Burntside Lake’s Gaul Island Protected

Scenic Gaul Island has been protected as an addition to Minnesota’s Burntside Islands Scientific and Natural Area, The Trust for Public Land announced today. Gaul Island, also called Hayes Island, is within Lake Burntside and within view of Sigurd Olson's historic Listening Point, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Burntside Lake is a recreational destination, but many of its 150 islands are developed with summer homes. Gaul Island will be open to the public for hiking, nature photography, and snowshoeing.

“Preserving and protecting Gaul Island strengthens the Burntside Scientific and Natural Area as a spectacular northern Minnesota recreational destination,” said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota state director for The Trust for Public Land.

Gaul Island is the second island in the Listening Point viewshed protected by The Trust for Public Land. They protected Long Island in 2008. The islands are also on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the most visited wilderness area in the country.

“When I first visited Gaul Island, I was impressed by the large upland white cedars that are becoming harder to find. A bald eagle swooped down towards me and I knew it was a special place. We are so grateful to The Trust for Public Land for bringing Gaul Island to us so it can be protected forever,” said Amberbeth VanNingen, ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources Scientific and Natural Area Program.

The Trust for Public Land acquired the land in 2010 and this year secured $347,500 from the State's Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) critical habitat match program. The source of these funds is voluntary license plate fees. The Trust for Public Land donated half of the land’s value, triggering the matching RIM credits.

Interim funding for the protection of Gaul Island was provided through The Trust for Public Land's Northwoods Land Protection Fund, a donor-supported revolving land acquisition fund.

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.