Islands on Two Northern Minnesota Lakes Acquired by Public Agencies

Wolf Island, photo by Darcy Kiefel/The Trust for Public Land

Islands on Lake Vermilion and Burntside Lake will be protected from development after being purchased by the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, respectively.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) recently helped acquire and transfer to government ownership Wolf Island on Vermilion and Gaul Island on Burntside.

Fifty-eight-acre Wolf Island has been added to the Superior National Forest, after first being purchased by TPL in 2007. It contains a historic cabin once owned by prominent architect John Jager, which will remain on the island.

TPL’s state director Susan Schmidt said the acquisition will be a benefit to the lake and the National Forest. “Preserving and protecting Wolf Island strengthens what is already a truly exceptional recreational destination at Lake Vermilion in the Superior National Forest,” said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota state director for The Trust for Public Land.

Gaul Island is within sight of wilderness writer and conservationist Sigurd Olson’s famous Listening Point retreat. It will be added to the existing Burntside Islands Scientific and Natural Area.

In a TPL press release, Amberbeth VanNingen, ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources Scientific and Natural Area Program, noted Gaul Island’s old-growth forests and wildlife. “When I first visited Gaul Island, I was impressed by the large upland white cedars that are becoming harder to find. A bald eagle swooped down towards me and I knew it was a special place. We are so grateful to The Trust for Public Land for bringing Gaul Island to us so it can be protected forever,” VanNingen said.

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