Over 200 Acres Permanently Protected along the Cannon River in Red Wing

The Trust for Public Land and the Cannon River Watershed Partnership announce the permanent protection of 214 acres of land along the Cannon River and Cannon Valley Trail in Red Wing, Minnesota. 205 acres have been conveyed to the Minnesota DNR to be an addition to the Cannon River Turtle Preserve Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) and 9 acres have been conveyed to the Cannon Valley Trail (CVT).

“This land protection project is emblematic of the great work The Trust for Public Land is doing with partners to protect lands along the Cannon River,” said DJ Forbes, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land, “By coordinating with and responding to our public partners’ priorities, the MN DNR and the Cannon Valley Trail, we’re able to protect land that not only has exceptional natural resource value, but provides a plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities for Minnesotans.”

The newly protected land is bisected by the Cannon River as it nears its confluence with the Mississippi River and not only provides great recreational opportunities, but also has exceptional value in protecting natural resources. The land is primarily made up of floodplain forest, yet it also has steep topography and goat prairie habitat high above the river, and a calcareous fen, one of Minnesota’s rare geologic features. The property is also bisected by the Cannon Valley Trail, a beautiful 19.7-mile trail connecting the cities of Cannon Falls, Welch, and Red Wing, providing great opportunities to walk, run, and bike.  This land has great scenic views and exceptional habitat, and will provide opportunities for wildlife-based recreation including hiking, hunting, fishing, bird-watching, and general nature observation. It will also provide a refuge for users of the trail.

“This is truly an amazing land acquisition. There are a few reasons the CVT wanted to acquire this 9-acre property,” said Scott Roepke, Trail Manager, for the Cannon Valley Trail. “It was identified as a priority acquisition opportunity in the CVT 2017 Comprehensive Plan and is adjacent to an 8-acre parcel already managed by the CVT. These two properties will be managed for their outstanding natural resources. In addition, the Comprehensive Plan envisions a ‘Cultural Heritage’ park to be created on these lands. The Cultural Heritage park will allow trail visitors to walk a natural surface trail to explore a multitude of archaeologically significant properties. One of the properties has a flat-topped archeological mound which is the only mound of its type in Minnesota. It would have been a time-consuming effort to acquire this property, but The Trust for Public Land made the process very easy. The CVT is very grateful for this land acquisition which will be utilized by many trail visitors.”

The 205-acre addition to the Cannon River Turtle Preserve SNA, which was funded by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, increases the SNA in size by nearly 25% and continues the protection of this dynamic environment. It contains southern terrace floodplain and maple-basswood forest, oak-hickory woodland, and goat prairie with ongoing prairie reconstructions that look down on the Cannon River. Much of this site has Exceptional Natural Resource Value. The MN DNR’s SNA Program protects the best of Minnesota’s remaining natural heritage for scientific study and public understanding. SNAs preserve rare natural features and resources of exceptional scientific and educational value, and provide excellent opportunities for nature observation, education, scientific research, and other non-motorized recreation that does not disturb the natural conditions.




About The Trust for Public Land


The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.


About Cannon River Watershed Partnership


One of Minnesota’s seven Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Cannon River drains nearly 1 million diverse acres of agricultural and forest land before emptying into the Mississippi River at Red Wing, MN. The Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP), a member-based, nonprofit organization, works to create a watershed where people can swim and fish in healthy rivers and lakes and drink clean water from their wells. The mission of CRWP’s nearly 400 members is to engage people in protecting and improving the water quality and natural systems of the Cannon River watershed. Learn about and support CRWP’s work with farmers, small communities and the Annual Watershed Wide Clean-up at www.crwp.net.


About the Cannon Valley Trail

The Cannon Valley Trail a National Recreation Trail built on a former Chicago Great Western Railroad line connecting the cities of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing in beautiful southeastern Minnesota. This paved bicycle and hiking trail is 19.7 miles of diverse and spectacular scenery. Paralleling the Cannon River, the Trail offers glimpses and panoramas of the valley and gradually descends 115 feet in elevation from Cannon Falls to Red Wing.  From overhanging cliffs to views of extensive wetland complexes, nature’s seasonal changes are vividly displayed. The Trail is open year-round for bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, similar wheeled recreational devices, hiking, walking and cross country skiing.  Trail users age 18 or older must have a valid Wheel Pass when using the trail from April 1st – November 1st.