The Nature Conservancy protected approximately 1,096 acres in Clay County. The land contains both mesic and wet prairie that provide essential habitat for greater prairie chickens, butterflies and many other prairie dependent animals and plants.
The properties were added to TNC’s Blazing Star Preserve, named for the showy spikes of prairie flowers that blossom there in the summer.
The Nature Conservancy acquired the lands under its Minnesota Prairie Recovery Project, an effort to protect native prairie and savanna and restore thousands of acres of degraded prairie and prairie wetland habitat.
Funding for the properties was provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which was created under the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, through an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
The properties are open to the public for hiking, photography and bird-watching. The Minnesota State Constitution requires all properties purchased with Outdoor Heritage Fund dollars to be open to the public taking of fish and game during the open season. As a result, hunting, trapping and fishing are allowed on this property in accordance with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Management Areas rules published in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.
Many of the properties purchased through the project are adjacent to private lands that are not open for public hunting. Please restrict hunting and fishing activities to only those lands clearly marked with signage showing they are “Open to Public Hunting.”
TNC manages Minnesota Prairie Recovery Project properties using strategies including prescribed fire, conservation grazing, and the removal of encroaching trees and brush. These methods will benefit wildlife, preserve clean water and provide recreational opportunities.