New Elk River Conservation Area Created Along the Mississippi River

One of the largest undeveloped Mississippi River properties in the Twin Cities region has been protected as a new conservation area, the City of Elk River and The Trust for Public Land announced today. Protection of the land has been a priority for the city for many years given its high natural resource value and sensitive shoreline. The city plans to open it to the public by the end of 2016.

“The City of Elk River is excited to become the permanent steward of the Houlton farm property at the confluence of the Mississippi and Elk Rivers,” said Michael Hecker, director of the City of Elk River Parks and Recreation Department. “It is a unique property with 347-acres in the middle of Elk River with over 3-miles of river frontage. The city is grateful to The Trust for Public Land for their efforts in working with the city to convey the land in making it available to the public.”

The Elk River City Council passed a resolution that the property will not be open to the public until late summer of 2016. The city plans to open the land for public recreation, hunting, and fishing by late 2016, and will manage it as a natural area promoting habitat for fish and wildlife. The city has begun planning efforts for the conservation area, and expects efforts will take up to two years. The city will plan for restoration and natural resource management, hunting, and overall general management.

“All of the city’s planning efforts can only be made possible through strategic partnerships with The Trust for Public Land and Friends of the Mississippi River,” added Hecker.

“This new Elk River conservation area will provide public access to excellent habitat along the Mississippi River,” said Bob McGillivray, senior project manager for The Trust for Public Land. “This has been a great couple years for public access to the Upper Mississippi River and we are proud to have had a role in this and other projects to improve public access to our nation’s great river.”

Funding for this project was provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as recommended by the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Conservation Fund also assisted with this project.

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. 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.