Koochiching and George Washington State Forests

Koochiching and George Washington State Forests, Minnesota. Photo: Peter CrouserPhoto credit: Peter Crouser

For generations, the private timberlands of Minnesota's Northwoods have supported jobs, provided wildlife habitat and clean water, offered recreation to local residents, and attracted millions of visitors each year. But as rising land values make land more valuable as real estate than timberland, land is being broken up and sold for second-home development. For one solution to this problem, conservationists and agencies are turning to working forest easements, which compensate landowners, keep the land in timber production, and prevent development. In 2007, TPL worked with the Minnesota Forest Legacy Partnership to protect 51,000 acres in Itasca and Koochiching counties with working forest easements - the single largest conservation project in Minnesota in at least a decade. The agreement protects jobs, preserves wildlife habitat and guarantees public access for outdoor recreation.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.