Trust for Public Land, Minnesota DNR Expand Paul Bunyan State Forest by over 2,500-acres
Today, Trust for Public Land and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced the addition of 2,529-acres of land to the Paul Bunyan State Forest.
“This property is one of the largest remaining blocks of private forest in the entire state. Keeping this forestland intact will not only allow residents around Hubbard County to enjoy expanded recreational opportunities, but it will also protect water quality for people and wildlife alike,” said Sophie Vorhoff, Minnesota State Director for Trust for Public Land.
The project is part of TPL’s ongoing Mississippi Headwaters Program. The Headwaters Region, roughly the first 400 miles of the main stem and associated watersheds, is home to some of Minnesota’s most outstanding freshwater ecological resources. This addition supports the health of the fourth largest river in the world and the 18 million people who depend on this watershed for water supply and contains the entire shoreline of several lakes.
It provides outstanding habitat for fish and wildlife and is a major route for migratory waterfowl. It is also an unparalleled recreational resource for outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, boating and hiking. These resources located only several hours from the Twin Cities have led this area to become one of the most rapidly growing areas in Minnesota, which is also threatened by agricultural conversion.
“The addition of this land to the Paul Bunyan State Forest was five years in the making and is another great example of the success that happens when people dedicated to conservation work in partnership,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “This forested public land will have numerous environmental, economic, and recreational benefits for Minnesota. We’re grateful for the partnership with Trust for Public Lands and look forward to our continuing conservation work together.”
It is directly adjacent to the recently protected Val Chatel property, now known as Deep Lake Park, is not far from TPL’s Hubbard County Forest Additions project, and is also close to Itasca State Park (the headwaters of the Mississippi), as well as TPL’s LaSalle Lake State Recreation Area project. The property will provide exceptional public recreational opportunities for hiking, wildlife observation, biking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, and kayaking due to its topography, number of lakes, excellent habitat and access.
Additionally, the property is composed of productive timberlands, which can contribute to local jobs and boost the local economy.
Funding for this project came from Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund. TPL purchased the land from The Conservation Fund (TCF), who had previously purchased most of the land holdings of the Potlatch timber company in Minnesota to prevent them from being further subdivided and to retain working forests in northern Minnesota. TPL has worked together with TCF to achieve a joint goal of getting as many of these lands as possible into public ownership.
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 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.