Forest Capital Partners, The Nature Conservancy and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today the closing of a new conservation easement that boosts Minnesota’s role as a national leader in protecting the environmental contributions of private, working forests. The 6,966-acre easement in southeastern Koochiching County is in addition to a 51,163-acre transaction completed in 2007 and a 76,249-acre transaction completed in 2010 with the same partners.
The new agreement, covering hardwood and boreal forests and wetlands along the Big Fork and Little Fork rivers, ensures that sustainable forest management, high quality wildlife habitat and public access to outdoor recreation opportunities will continue in perpetuity. A conservation easement ensures that the land will continue to be managed for timber production, but will also be open to the public for a variety of activities such as hunting, fishing and hiking.
”Our partnership with the State of Minnesota provides a framework for helping meet community needs for jobs and revenues, while protecting public access for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities,” said Craig Halla, region manager for Forest Capital Partners in International Falls. “It is a win-win for the environment and for our economy here in northern Minnesota.”
Conservation easements, which protect millions of acres of wildlife habitat and open space throughout the United States, are an important tool in keeping working forests as forestland. 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 holds and monitors the conservation easements.
"Working forests are essential to our quality of life in Minnesota," said Peggy Ladner, director of The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, which provided a grant to help pay for the easement. "They provide good-paying jobs and are great places to hunt, fish and hike. They help keep our air and water clean. This property provides habitat for wildlife species that need large blocks of forest such as black bear, northern goshawk, boreal owl and neotropical migratory songbirds.”
“The conservation easements undertaken with Forest Capital Partners are great investments in Minnesota’s future,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “They will maintain access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits, while guaranteeing that these lands remain available for timber production and its related economic benefits.”
Funding for the new $1.4 million working forest conservation easement was provided by The Nature Conservancy, with the support of the Blandin Foundation. The transaction was also made possible with $2,500 of Legacy Amendment money provided through the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The transaction continues the DNR’s “Forests for the Future” program, launched in 2008. More information is available on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestlegacy/mff/index.html.
Forest Capital Partners, LLC is a financial manager and steward of large-scale working forests across North America. Forest Capital Partners actively manages approximately 2 million acres of forestland for long-term sustainability under forest management guidelines set forth by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. A leading grower of environmentally certified timber, Forest Capital Partners is also an active participant in markets for nontimber forest products. Visit www.forestcap.com for additional information.
The mission of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is to work with citizens to conserve and manage the state's natural resources, to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and to provide for commercial uses of natural resources in a way that creates a sustainable quality of life. More information is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. In Minnesota, the Conservancy has helped conserve more than 650,000 acres since 1958. The Conservancy has more than 20,000 members in Minnesota and offices in Minneapolis, Cushing, Glyndon, Duluth, Karlstad, St. Joseph and Preston. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org/minnesota.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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