Today, as our state’s forestland stands at a profound crossroads between conservation and consumption, the Minnesota Forest Legacy Partnership is working with landowners, loggers, sportsmen, recreationists and communities to preserve the forests for timber, jobs, public access and wildlife habitat.
The Partnership's members include:
- The Blandin Foundation
- The Conservation Fund
- Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce
- Minnesota Deer Hunters Association
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Minnesota Forest Resources Council
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Trust for Public Land
The future of our state’s forest-based economies and communities is in question because the future of the industrial forestlands that support them is in doubt.
It’s a story being played out in Minnesota, across the Great Lakes and throughout the country as the shifting economics of the forest products industry force unprecedented changes in timberland ownership.
Recently, large parcels of industrial forestland have been subdivided and sold off, putting jobs, public access and wildlife habitat—everything we value about Minnesota’s forests—at risk.
An estimated one million acres of Minnesota’s remaining forestlands could soon be up for sale as corporate landowners divest of these long-held assets.
To help prevent further forest fragmentation, the Minnesota Forest Legacy Partnership has established a three-year, $26 million goal to conserve these forests that will help ensure sustainable forestry, protect wildlife habitat and guarantee public access in the forests around Itasca County, one of the areas hardest hit by changes in the forest products industry.
The agreement will enable the Partnership to purchase conservation easements on up to 75,000 acres of private industrial forestland in the Itasca County region.
The conservation easements, once purchased from willing sellers, will be transferred to the state Department of Natural Resources, which will monitor the legally binding agreements.
By protecting these working forests from subdivision and development, we reduce fragmentation of wildlife habitat, help our citizens and local economies by protecting forest-related jobs, maintain the natural filtering systems that effectively clean our air and water, and keep these lands available for recreational use today and into the future.
Watch a video that describes the impacts of forest fragmentation on Minnesota's landscape and the people who depend upon it.