Land Added to Superior National Forest (MN)

Cook County, MN 6/30/2003 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the U.S. Forest Service today announced the protection of undeveloped shoreline along Lake McFarland, the last of four forested tracts totaling 650 acres that were purchased by TPL and conveyed to the Superior National Forest. In addition to today’s protection of 5.48 acres along Lake McFarland, located on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (BWCAW), the additional publicly protected lands include property along the Fernberg Corridor as well as the scenic Vermillion and Pelican Rivers.

Funds for these purchases were appropriated by Congress through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, with the strong support of Minnesota Senators Mark Dayton and Norm Coleman and U.S. Representative James Oberstar. The late Senator Paul Wellstone also was a strong supporter of this protection effort.

“Thanks to the great work of our Minnesota Congressional delegation, these critical recreation lands are permanently protected for the public,” noted Susan Schmidt, Director of Trust for Public Land Minnesota Office. “The Northwoods is changing rapidly. Working with individual landowners, we are able to keep some of these special places protected and open to the public.”

The land along Lake McFarland is situated at the end of the Arrowhead Trail and includes the westernmost 1,170 feet of lake frontage. Located across from the Pine Lake entry point to the BWCAW, this property contains a portage that crosses the historic Border Route Trail to access East Pike Lake. This short portage leads families, youth groups, and wilderness enthusiasts into a modern day wilderness. The protection of the Lake McFarland property will help maintain the natural character of the BWCAW, one of the most popular wilderness recreation areas in the country.

TPL’s protection of 560 acres along the Fernberg Corridor at the junction of Fernberg Road and Snowbank Lake Road preserves land leading to two important entry points to the BWCAW. Nationally renowned photographer Jim Brandenburg sold this prime forestland near Ely to be protected as part of the Superior National Forest. Featured in many of Brandenburg’s photographs, this land provides wilderness corridors for some of Minnesota’s most threatened wildlife including wolves, Canadian lynx, moose, and bear. Keeping this corridor undeveloped will provide BWCAW visitors with a unique sense of the backcountry that awaits them even before they place their canoes in the water.

In St. Louis County, nearly one hundred acres of land on two properties along the Vermilion and Pelican Rivers were saved from development. These pristine parcels contain a small wild rice paddy and a key portage for boaters traveling between the two rivers. Designated a state Wild and Scenic River, the Vermilion River passes through miles of natural and undisturbed sections of Minnesota’s Superior National Forest. The combined protection effort of the these two properties will protect more than 3,000 feet of frontage on the Pelican River and 2,000 feet along the Vermilion.

All four of these properties would be ideal for commercial or residential development. As a result of TPL’s intervention, they will be available for public use for generations to come. These projects are a part of TPL’s Northwoods Initiative in Minnesota and are a continuation of our longstanding working relationship with the Superior National Forest. The Land and Water Conservation Fund provided funds for all four acquisitions.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), established in 1972, is a national nonprofit land conservation organization specializing in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law, to conserve land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Across the nation, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres. Through its Northwoods Initiative, a regional conservation program focused on northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, TPL is assisting communities and public agencies in identifying and protecting sensitive and threatened lands. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.