Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Tettegouche and Gooseberry Falls state parks and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge are just a few of the natural areas that make Minnesota one of the best places to live in the United States. Conservation of these irreplaceable lands and waters would not have been possible without supportive public policy and funding.
The Nature Conservancy works closely with Minnesota's state and federal legislators to develop and support legislative policies and funding initiatives that make a substantial and lasting contribution to effective conservation of Minnesota’s lands and waters. See what our top priorities are for this year.
There are many reasons why conserving Minnesota’s lands and waters should continue to be a high priority for Minnesotans and their elected officials:
• Public Lands and Waters Pay for Themselves: An economic study conducted by the University of Minnesota showed that investing in natural areas more than pays for itself. For every dollar invested in conserving natural areas, there is a return of up to four dollars in Minnesota.
• Public Lands and Waters Benefit the Economy: Visitors to Minnesota’s state parks generate $287 million in total business sales annually, according to a 2002 study by the Minnesota DNR’s Office of Management and Budget Services. Visitors from outside Minnesota contribute $47 million of that amount, providing new dollars to state and local economies.
• Public Lands Help Keep Water Clean: Forestland in particular greatly reduces the cost of treating drinking water, according to a study conducted by the American Water Works Association and the Trust for Public Land. The study showed that for every 10% increase in forest cover (up to 60% cover), drinking water treatment costs decreased by approximately 20%.
You can learn more about the economic benefits associated with natural resource conservation in this October 2011 report by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The Nature Conservancy and its partners have also created a fact sheet on why Minnesota should invest in conservation (pdf 2.1 MB).