TPL Donates Land to Pipestone National Monument (MN)

St. Paul, Minn. 4/10/2007: The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization has donated 15.3 acres of land which will be added to Pipestone National Monument in southwestern Minnesota.

“We are deeply appreciative of this gift from TPL,” said Jim LaRock, Superintendent of Pipestone National Monument. “The addition of this land removes the possibility of development immediately adjacent to one of the park’s key resources, Winnewissa Falls. It contributes in so many vital ways in preserving the integrity of both new and existing cultural and natural resources. This addition also represents a one-time opportunity to unite science, education and learning as a by-product of restoring a tallgrass prairie that once totally covered the Coteau de Prairie in the early to mid 1800s.”

“TPL is proud to work with the Park Service, and contribute to strengthening the integrity of this important cultural, historic and ecological site,” added Stacy McMahon, TPL Regional Director of Projects.

In March 2007, TPL acquired the land from the Pipestone Area School District, which had been seeking to put it on the market. TPL has, in turn donated the 15.3 acres to the National Park Service.

“I believe the PAS School Board felt the 15.3 acres sold to the Trust for Public Land and later donated to the National Monument was a natural extension of the National Monument,” commented PAS Superintendent Jim Lentz.

“This is a great event in the history of Pipestone National Monument,” said Chuck Draper, chair of the Friends of Pipestone National Monument. “The community’s identity is bound to the Monument. To see it boundaries enlarged and its’ resources enhanced is important to all of us.”

The monument was created in 1937 to protect the unique site of quarries, which Native peoples have used for thousands of years as the source of the unique pipestone rock, which was turned into pipes used for personal and ceremonial purposes, and continues to be quarried today.

The National Monument is held sacred by many American Indians and due to the long-history of the site, relatively little of it has seen cultivation or development. The Monument contains a number of important Native American spiritual and archeological sites.

“For centuries, Native Americans have come to this sacred place to take the pipestone rock from here and turn it into pipes which we have used in our ceremonies,” said Chuck Sams, Director of TPL’s Tribal & Native Lands program. “This gift of land is a significant addition to a place which is important to many Native Americans.”

This new, additional acreage may also contain significant archeological resources, given its close proximity to the known site of a prehistoric workshop. It will also aid in the preservation of a globally rare and significant plant community including the Northern Mesic Tallgrass Prairie/Sioux Quartzite Prairie.

A National Pipe Ceremony to celebrate this addition to the park concurrent with a dedication ceremony at the Monument is being planned for later this year.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places.

In Minnesota, TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres valued at more than $60 million including the recent acquisition and protection of the Chainsaw Sisters Mudro Lake portage access adjacent to the BWCAW, an addition to the future Neenah Creek Regional Park in St. Cloud, the creation of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary east of downtown St. Paul and the most prominent portion of historic Pilot Knob in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.