This post is taken from the summer 2012 edition of Gathering Waters Conservancy’s newsletter, Crosscurrents. Click here to read the newsletter in its entirety.
We love to tell the stories of land trusts working across Wisconsin. Over the last few months we have been astonished by the historically significant and inspiring conservation success stories from around the state.
At the end of 2011, the Driftless Area Land Conservancy completed an incredibly unique and significant project for southwest Wisconsin. The Conservancy worked with a group of conservation-minded landowners to permanently protect six important contiguous properties — 780 acres of Blufflands along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. These properties protect hilltop farmland, springs, rugged ravines, secluded valleys, and rare plants and animals. They also preserve continentally-important Driftless area features such as oak woodlands, oak openings, native prairie remnants, and unique rock outcroppings that will be enjoyed for years to come.
This is just one example of the work that shows ingenuity, surpasses expectations, and breaks records in Wisconsin. What follows is just a sampling of a few other terrific projects we’re privileged to share.
Easement Donation History Is Made
On December 1, the Winter Park Pines Nature Preserve near Minocqua was established with the granting of a perpetual conservation easement by Ken and Carolyn Aldridge to the Northwoods Land Trust. This 3,195 acre property – nearly five square miles — includes approximately 27 miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails at the core of the Minocqua Winter Park Nordic Center’s trail system. This is the largest conservation easement ever donated to a land trust in Wisconsin!
A First Preserve for Glacial Lakes Conservancy
Grasshopper Hill represents over five years of work to purchase and create this 25-acre glacial remnant nature preserve in the Town of Rhine in east-central Wisconsin. In Spring 2011, family members of the Fischer Farmstead agreed to an option to purchase because of their shared vision to protect the steepsided, wooded hill from future development. Notes Vickie Hall, Glacial Lakes Conservancy’s Executive Director, “As we have met with locals who spent time around the lake in their youth, we have been hearing a lot of laughter and even poetry, but most of all a deep abiding connection to this beautiful place through many stories.”
Wisconsin’s New Tribal National Park
In November, David and Marjorie Johnson sold their 88.6 acre property along Lake Superior to the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, in partnership with the Bayfield Regional Conservancy. The acquisition will protect the property, keeping its nearly quarter mile of sandy and pebble beaches in pristine condition and offering views of five Apostle Islands. Bayfield Regional Conservancy will retain a conservation easement on the property and the Red Cliff Band will create Frog Bay Tribal National Park, open to both tribal and non-tribal members for hiking, birding, beach use and other recreational opportunities.
Wisconsin’s Largest Ever Conservation Project
In April, collaboration between Wisconsin DNR, Lyme Timber and The Conservation Fund led to the creation of the Brule-St. Croix Legacy Forest property, the largest land conservation project in Wisconsin history. The property comprises approximately 67,000 acres of working timberland and globally significant Pine Barrens in northwestern Wisconsin and is a fantastic demonstration of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program’s great value to the state. Protection of this tract with a working forest conservation easement will enhance water quality by sustaining productive forests at a large scale, prevent forest fragmentation, and provide critical habitat for many species including a few with threatened or endangered status.
We’re proud to work with such a committed and talented community of conservationists and we’re proud to be in a position to bring these stories to you. For more inspiring stories about conservation in Wisconsin, visit our website, continue reading our blog, or like us on Facebook. We look forward to more wonderful stories from around our state.