Forest Land in Hubbard County Protected to Benefit People, Economy, and Environment

July 13, 2022
ST. PAUL, Minn.

Today, Trust for Public Land (TPL), Hubbard County, The Conservation Fund, and the Mississippi Headwaters Board (MHB) announced that 714 acres in Hubbard County has been saved from future development. The land will be transferred to Hubbard County who will manage it as a working forest and prevent it from being further divided.

“If you like to hunt, fish, or observe wildlife, this is great news,” said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota State Director for Trust for Public Land. “Research shows that being outdoors is critically important for our physical and mental health, and this is a really special place for that kind of healing and renewal.”

The protected area includes two segments of land in Hubbard County, one 160-acre area in Schoolcraft Township and the other 560-acre section is near Emmaville. The newly protected land features working forests and wetlands. The land is very near Brokaw Lake, Brokaw Creek, Skunk Lake, Bad Axe Lake, Big Mantrap Lake, and Stocking Lake.

The area provides public recreation, wildlife habitat, water and wetland protection, forest carbon sequestration, and production of timber. Protecting this property will safeguard the diversity of native ecosystems, mitigate climate change by promoting forest carbon sequestration, improve connectivity between natural lands, protect drinking water, and provide public access for recreational activities.

“We are so fortunate to be in such a special place to live, work, play, and a place that attracts nature-loving visitors that fuel our local economy,” said Mark “Chip” Lohmeier, Hubbard County Land Commissioner. “For the sake of our residents, businesses, and visitors, it’s important to protect the natural beauty that make Hubbard County special.”

TPL worked with Hubbard County to identify land formerly owned by Potlatch that the County was interested in adding to its County Forest system, and after these areas were identified, TPL worked with The Conservation Fund to reach an agreement to purchase them.

In partnership with the Mississippi Headwaters Board, TPL worked with the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council to obtain funding and approval to acquire this land. The funding for this project came from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which is the habitat portion of the dedicated 3/8ths of one percent sales tax fund that was approved by referendum voters in Minnesota in 2008. Final approval for the purchase came from the Minnesota Legislature.

TPL then conducted a real estate-related investigation to assess the condition of the property. After completing that detailed process, TPL donated the land to Hubbard County.

“This is the first of what we hope to be many more state-funded acquisitions involving the 72,000 acres in 14 Minnesota counties that the Conservation Fund purchased from PotlatchDeltic Corporation back in 2020,” said Kim Berns, State Director for The Conservation Fund. “In the future, we look forward to many more such partnerships between the Conservation Fund and Trust for Public Land.”

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 About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit www.tpl.org.

About Hubbard County
The five-member Hubbard County Board of Commissioners governs Hubbard County. Hubbard County is in the northwestern part of Minnesota. Its County Seat is Park Rapids. The county's beautiful terrain is hilly, largely wooded, and dotted with lakes and ponds. To learn more, visit www.co.hubbard.mn.us.

About Mississippi Headwaters Board (MHB)
Formed in 1980 as an alternative to designation of the reiver into the National Wild and Scenic River System, the Mississippi Headwaters Board (MHB) works to protect and preserve the first 400 miles of the Mississippi River in Minnesota. A joint powers board of Clearwater, Beltrami, Cass, Hubbard, Itasca, Aitkin, Crow Wing and Morrison Counties, the MHB enhances and protects the natural, cultural, historic, scientific and recreational values of the headwaters region. MHB achieves its goal of river protection through cooperative land use planning in the eight counties, in conjunction with the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. MHB promotes water quality monitoring, education and stewardship activities for shoreland property owners, and embraces the efforts of local citizens, students and government groups who work together to protect the river in their community and preserve the splendor of this national treasure. To learn more, visit www.mississippiheadwaters.org

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 8.5 million acres of land across the U.S., including nearly 393,000 acres in Minnesota. www.conservationfund.org.