Deal in the Northwoods to protect 51,000 acres
St. Paul – The contribution by the state and private groups of
about $12 million will be used in Koochiching and Itasca counties
to protect more than 51,000 acres of forest from development, Gov.
Tim Pawlenty announced this week.
According to The Nature Conservancy, one of the conservation
groups involved in the land easement process, the agreement will
‘protect jobs, preserve wildlife habitat, and guarantee public
access for outdoor recreation.’
Further, the newly conserved lands are near about 440,000 acres
of state-owned forest, natural, and park areas. Because of its
proximity to the Koochiching and George Washington state forests,
the project has been dubbed the Koochiching-Washington Forest
The project is the largest conservation project in a decade,
according to TNC, which has worked with the Blandin Foundation to
create the Minnesota Forest Legacy Project, a coalition that works
cooperatively to conserve Minnesota’s Northwoods.
The funding was used to purchase working forest conservation
easements that preclude subdivision and development of the
property. Under the voluntary agreement, Forest Capital Partners
retains ownership as well as the right to continue to manage its
land for timber production.
The DNR contributed $6.6 million to purchase the easements
through public bond funds appropriated by the state Legislature in
Closure of this agreement was made public just prior to Outdoor
News’ press deadline. Please see next week’s edition of Outdoor
News for more details.