Minnesota

Mudro Lake, Superior National Forest, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely, MNPhoto credit: Darcy Kiefel

In Minnesota, The Trust for Public Land is creating city parks, conserving the natural resources of the Northwoods, and safeguarding the water quality of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers.

Local offices

2610 University Avenue, Suite 300 | St. Paul, Minnesota  55114
Phone: (651) 917-2240 | Email Address: minnesota@tpl.org

Explore Our Work

 

Minnesota projects

Highlighted Projects:

Parks for People -Twin Cities

Our Parks for People program protects land in communities throughout Minnesota.

Mississippi River Northwoods Habitat Complex, MN

The Big Rivers program works to protect or reclaim lands along the main stem of the rivers to provide important recreational resources, safeguard drinking water, and support critical habitat.

Northwoods Initiative. Photo: William Poole

The Trust for Public Land established the Northwoods Initiative to protect the iconic landscapes of northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Projects (sorted alphabetically):

Allemansratt Wilderness Park, Minnesota

In 2010, The Trust for Public Land protected an additional 64 acres for Allemansrätt Wilderness Park in Lindstrom. In 2014, we helped add the Lake Cabin, an emigrant house from the 1890s, and a 30-acre peninsula with beautiful lakefront views.

Mississippi River Northwoods Habitat Complex, MN

The Big Rivers program works to protect or reclaim lands along the main stem of the rivers to provide important recreational resources, safeguard drinking water, and support critical habitat.

Blakeley Bluffs, MN

The Trust for Public Land is working with the state Department of Natural Resources to protect 128 acres of Blakeley Bluffs as an addition to the Ney Wildlife Management Area.

Brainerd Lakes, Minnesota. Photo: Peter Crouser

In the Brainerd Lakes area, The Trust for Public Land led an effort to purchase a working forest conservation easement over 4,776 acres of prime forestland owned by the Potlatch Corporation.

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, MN

The Trust for Public Land led the effort to transform a 27-acre industrial site located in St. Paul's East Side into a park and nature sanctuary in honor of late Congressman Bruce Vento.

Burntside Lake, Minnesota. Photo: Darcy Kiefel

The Trust for Public Land purchased Long Island in Minnesota's Burntside Lake, at the headwaters of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and across from Listening Point, which inspired conservation writer Sigurd Olson.

Camp Ojiketa, Minnesota. Photo: El Randels/Ojiketa Preservation Society

TPL helped project Camp Ojiketa, a popular camp area, as a regional park, owned and managed by Chisago City.

Walking in The Trust for Public Land's Koester Prairie., 2014, MN, Cannon Rivers Koester Prairie

The Trust for Public Land is working to conserve critical habitat around the Cannon River, less than an hour’s drive south of the Twin Cities. This region has recently suffered loss and fragmentation of wildlife habitat due to development and intensive agriculture. We are working with interested landowners and communities to protect and restore prairies, grasslands, wetlands, and shoreline, and to provide public access for hunting, angling, and other outdoor recreation. A few successes include the Dora Lake Wildlife Management Area, near the river’s headwaters, and Prairie Creek Wildlife Area, near Northfield.

Caponi Art Park, Minnesota

Artists Anthony and Cheryl Caponi created a unique "art park" on their 60 acres of rolling meadows and woodlands in the Twin Cities suburb of Eagan, Minnesota.

Cedar Creek Conservation Area, Minnesota. Photo: Allen Brisson-Smith

TPL has helped protect over 500 acres across from the existing 434-acre Rum River Central Regional Park that will eventually open as the Cedar Creek Conservation Area in Anoka County.

Hunter with dog near Minnesota lake.

The Trust for Public Land helped create a new conservation area in northeast Anoka County—providing sport hunters with a new outdoor resource just 20 minutes from the Twin Cities

Dead Lake, Minnesota. Photo: Braun Intertec

For years, a battle raged between local conservation-minded landowners and would-be developers of over 260 acres of Dead Lake shoreline. Proposed development included 151 residential housing units, a general store, a restaurant, two swimming pools, a marina, and mooring facilities.

Cannon River, Minnesota

In fall of 2011, The Trust for Public Land conveyed 510 acres near the headwaters of the Cannon River to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which will be managed as the new Dora Lake Wildlife Management Area.

East Rush Lake, Minnesota

TPL helped conserve 670-acres for the East Rush Lake Wildlife and Aquatic Management Area in rapidly growing Chisago County.

Franconia Bluffs, Minnesota

Conservationists had been keeping a close watch on the nearly 50 acres overlooking the St. Croix River valley and the village of Franconia, when TPL stepped in to work with partners in the Metro Conservation Corridors program, which protects natural areas and water quality in the rapidly developing metro region in Chisago County.

Frogtown Park and Farm

In 2013, we worked with the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation to secure 12.7 acres in the heart of the neighborhood and transfer it to the city. Now, we're raising funds to help transform the site into a recreation area, nature sanctuary, and demonstration farm operated by local nonprofit Frogtown Farm.

Listening Point and Long Island on Burntside Lake, Boundary Waters, MN

In 2013 The Trust for Public Land protected Gaul Island as an addition to the Burntside Islands Scientific and Natural Area. Like Long Island, which we helped protect in 2008, the island is part of the viewshed from Sigurd Olson's historic Listening Point.

Grand Marais Minnesota breakwaters

Nestled on the rugged North Shore of Lake Superior, the village of Grand Marais has provided a unique and inspirational setting for recreation, the arts, and community gatherings for generations of residents and visitors. In 2001, we helped the community realize its dream of a unified and protected public shoreline along the city's historic harbor.

Gray's Bay/Lake Minnetonka Shoreline, Minnesota

Since the 1980s, public agencies and recreationists have sought to improve public access to Lake Minnetonka, a popular boating and fishing lake 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Several years ago, the owner of the private Gray's Bay Marina and Resort decided to retire.

Green space along the Metro Trail light rail lines.

The Trust for Public Land is leading a collaborative effort to integrate new parks and green space into the communities along the Green Line, an 11-mile light-rail corridor that will run between Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Bush Camp in Northwoods of Minnesota

This property is situated within the artic watershed just a few miles south of the Canadian border and surrounded by the Boundary Waters, the most visited wilderness area in the country. After more than a decade of work with The Trust for Public Land, and with funding from the Leuthold Wilderness Foundation, Jim and Judy Brandenburg created an iconic place for all when they protected this unbroken stretch of hundreds of acres of wild land surrounding beautiful Judd Lake.

Koochiching and George Washington State Forests, Minnesota. Photo: 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.

Kremer Lake, Chippewa National Forest, MN

The Trust for Public Land is working to protect 43 acres wedged between Kremer Lake and the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway in the heart of northern Minnesota's Chippewa National Forest.

La Salle Lake, MN

La Salle Lake is Minnesota's second-deepest lake.  In October 2011, The Trust for Public Land helped conserve 1,000 acres surrounding the lake, creating connections between existing public lands.

Lester Lake, MN

TPL worked with the state and local partners to secure funding that ensures the permanent protection of Lester Lake in Minnesota's North Woods.

Lost Valley Prairie, Minnesota

For years volunteers in Minnesota's Scientific Natural Area program hoped to see this 120-acre "botanist's delight" in Washington County protected.

In partnership with several other conservation organizations, The Trust for Public Land is working to permanently protect high-quality habitat for fish and wildlife along the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix rivers and their tributaries in the Twin Cities region. In addition to safeguarding the diversity of native ecosystems, this work will beautify the built environment, provide close-to-home access to natural places for Twin Cities residents, create natural connections between neighborhoods, and make the Twin Cities more resilient to severe weather driven by climate change. A few recently protected lands are an addition to the Savage Fen Scientific and Natural Area and the Blakeley Bluffs addition to the Ney Wildlife Management Area—both in Scott County, only 30 miles south of the Twin Cities.

Minneapolis Community Gardens

The Trust for Public Land worked with two local nonprofits—The Sustainable Resources Center and The Green Institute—to permanently protect these gardens.

Mississippi River Northwoods Habitat Complex

In the 400 miles below its origin at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River provides habitat for fish and other wildlife, hosts annual waves of migratory waterfowl, and is a favorite destination for hunting, fishing, birding, boating, and hiking. Much of the land along this stretch of the river is privately owned and subject to development or conversion to agriculture. The Trust for Public Land is working with landowners and communities to protect and preserve sensitive shoreline throughout the headwaters region, including around reservoirs and tributaries, helping to preserve high-quality habitat and recreation areas in the headwaters of our nation’s largest river.

shoreline of the Mississippi River Northwoods Habitat Complex near Brainerd, MN.

For several years, The Trust for Public Land and several partner organizations helped protect this property, linking it to nearby conservation lands, and creating a nine mile stretch of protected land along the river.

Nisswa Lake, Minnesota. Photo: Allen Brisson-Smith

TPL helped protect Nisswa Lake, part of the 13,000-acre Gull Lake Chain, a popular fishing, boating, and swimming destination in the central part of the state.

Site of future Griggs Park, St. Paul

The Trust for Public Land recently purchased five acres near Skyline Tower and transferred the parcels to the City of St. Paul. In the coming years, we will help guide the community through the process of designing, funding, and building a brand new, much-needed park.

Parks for People -Twin Cities

Our Parks for People program protects land in communities throughout Minnesota.

Pike Lake, MN

When highway construction threatened Pike Lake, a haven for wildlife and a popular recreation spot, the city of Prior Lake asked The Trust for Public Land for help.

Pilot Knob, Minnesota. Photo: Peter Crouser

Native Dakota people once performed ceremonies on this hill overlooking the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers in the Twin Cities suburb of Mendota Heights.

Pine Bend Bluffs, Minnesota. Photo: Tom Evers

Along the Mississippi River in Inver Grove Heights, TPL continues to secure key properties that compose the Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area.

Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

TPL helped add land to the Pipestone National Monument, a unit of the National Park Service that protects archaeological resources and natural features such as Winnewissa Falls on Pipestone Creek.

Prairie Creek Wildlife Management Area, Minnesota

To ensure that everyone can their property as a wildlife haven, the Koester family worked with The Trust for Public Land and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to transform 460 acres of their land into the Prairie Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Quarry Park, Minnesota. Photo: Tom Evers

The region around St. Cloud holds some of the fastest growing communities in Minnesota. At the edge of this sprawling region, Quarry Park and Nature Preserve offers rich history, diverse resources, and a variety of recreational activities, including SCUBA diving, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, and trout fishing.

Root River, Minnesota. Photo: Darcy Kiefel

This Olmsted County park protects a section of the historic Root River stagecoach trail, preserves a biologically significant area, and creates new recreation opportunities.

Sabo Farm, Minnesota. Photo: Bob Firth

When Harold and Doris Sabo approached retirement, they decided to sell their 2,500-acre Clearwater County farm bordering the Red Lake Chippewa Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Bird watching at Savage Fen Scientific and Natural Area in Savage, MN.

Thirty minutes southwest of the Twin Cities, Savage Fen Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) is an ecological treasury that became almost 70 acres richer in late 2010.

A man stands in a field

The distinctive “driftless” region of southeast Minnesota is characterized by forests and prairies threaded by wandering trout streams and the Mississippi, Root, Whitewater, Zumbro, and Cannon rivers. Although this blufflands region is rich in wildlife habitat and recreation potential, only 5 percent is protected and open for public use. In partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Minnesota Land Trust, The Trust for Public Land is working to create and expand conservation areas in the blufflands, to protect important wildlife habitat, and to improve access to recreation across this singular region.

St. Paul's Priory, Minnesota. Photo: Linda Huhn

In 1960, the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict purchased a rolling glacial moraine in Maplewood as site for a college and retirement home. For four decades the land remained open as Maplewood expanded and developers sought to purchase the property. 

Sugar Hills, Minnesota. Photo: George Hornick

TPL helped protect the Sugar Hills property, which contains a popular ski trail system, clear water creeks, a 14-acre lake, and "Big Thunder Peak," one of the state's highest named summits.

Northwoods Initiative. Photo: William Poole

The Trust for Public Land established the Northwoods Initiative to protect the iconic landscapes of northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Vermillion Empire, Minnesota. Photo: Peter Crouser

Within a half-hour's drive of St. Paul, the 475-acre site known as Vermillion Empire View offers a host of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Wayzata Woods, Minnesota.

The Trust for Public Land helped protect this now-rare remnant of the Big Woods ecosystem that once dominated the southeastern third of Minnesota.

Wolf Island, MN

A 60-acre gem located in Lake Vermilion's Wolf Bay, Wolf Island is a place of legend and lore, with historical ties to both Native Americans and Voyageurs.