Easement Conserves 76,000 Forest Acres

A conservation easement agreement will keep some 76,000 acres of northern Minnesota forest protected for sustainable forestry, wildlife habitat, and recreation, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday.

photo courtesy http://www.conservationfund.org
photo courtesy http://www.conservationfund.org

Forest Capital Partners and the Minnesota DNR said the closing of a multi-year conservation easement on private forestland in Koochiching County will add 76,000 acres of preserved forest to a 51,000 acre transaction completed in 2007.  The latest easement is one of the largest single conservation agreements of its kind in Minnesota’s history.

The terms of the agreement under Minnesota’s Forest Legacy Partnership provide for sustainable forest management, conservation of wildlife habitat and public access to outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing in perpetuity, the DNR said.

“Private working forests are important partners in meeting environmental goals, as well as in providing jobs and public access to the outdoors,” Craig Halla, region manager for Forest Capital Partners in International Falls, said in a DNR media release. “Forest Capital Partners will continue to explore opportunities such as this in the future.”

The Minnesota Forest Legacy Partnership is a public-private coalition created by The Nature Conservancy and the Blandin Foundation to help conserve Minnesota’s north woods, and includes the DNR which will hold and monitor the conservation easements.

“Fragmentation of Minnesota’s north woods is one of the most significant threats to wildlife, especially species that need large blocks of forest like bears, wolves and many species of neotropical migratory songbirds,” Peggy Ladner, director of The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, said. “This project will keep the land intact so that it continues to produce timber and jobs while providing essential habitat for wildlife.”

This transaction was funded through a grant from the USDA Forest Service Forest Legacy Program and an appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature.  More information on the easement can be found HERE.

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