Celebration Will Showcase U.S. and Canadian Conservation Partnership on Lake Superior


Minneapolis, Minnesota | June 12, 2017

On June 17th, Americans and Canadians will come together on the northwest shore of Lake Superior to celebrate protection of one of the last privately-owned, undeveloped stretches of shoreline between Duluth, Minnesota, and Thunder Bay, Ontario.

With support from U.S. donors, foundations and conservation organizations, as well as the Government of Canada and private donors, The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) completed the purchase of Big Trout Bay, the crown jewel in a series of rugged coastal islands, peninsulas and bays along Lake Superior’s northwest shore.

The dense coastal boreal forest at Big Trout Bay is a vital stopover for migrating waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds and colonial nesting water birds and is essential to conserving wide-ranging mammals like the Canada lynx and gray wolf in the greater landscape.

Together the partners raised more than $6.3 million to purchase the 2,500-acre property and take advantage of an extraordinary opportunity to permanently protect 13 miles of undeveloped shoreline, rugged cobble beaches, coastal boreal forest and a spectacular cliff outcrop that supports breeding peregrine falcons.

More than $3.15 million of the purchase price was raised from U.S. donors and foundations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska.

“Protecting Big Trout Bay was a massive undertaking, and it wouldn’t have happened without support from U.S. donors, foundations and conservation organizations,” said James Duncan, Nature Conservancy of Canada Vice President for Ontario. “It gives us hope that the landscapes shared and beloved by the citizens of both countries today will be here for others to enjoy tomorrow.”

“When you fly over the north shore of Lake Superior, you don’t see an international boundary, you see an amazingly beautiful place, a global treasure that should be protected,” said Debbie Cervenka, former chair of The Nature Conservancy’s Board of Trustees in Wisconsin and Duluth resident who made a gift to help protect Big Trout Bay.

John H. Anderson, a Duluth businessman and Nature Conservancy board member in Minnesota who spearheaded the fundraising in the U.S. together with Cervenka, added: “The land on Big Trout Bay was slated to be developed into more than 300 home sites. I have a deep connection to Lake Superior, having paddled the lake for decades and owned land on Big Trout Bay, and I wanted to see it stay as wild and untouched as it was the first time I set eyes on it.” Anderson and his wife Mary Boyle Anderson donated a portion of their property at Pine Point on Big Trout Bay to NCC to become part of the protected area.

Protection of Big Trout Bay was made possible with funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program and in partnership with the J.A. Woollam Foundation in Nebraska, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation in Minnesota, the Bobolink Foundation in Illinois, The Nature Conservancy’s Wisconsin and Minnesota programs, The Conservation Fund, Green Leaf Advisors, The Rogers Foundation and many individual donors in both the United States and Canada.

“Lake Superior’s Big Trout Bay, McKellar Point and Pine Point represent the last unsecured Great Lakes wilderness on the continent—truly a global gem,” said Tom Duffus, Midwest vice president for The Conservation Fund, which provided bridge financing as well as transactional and fundraising assistance to NCC via its Great Lakes Revolving Fund. “After more than 15 years of work personally on this project, I understand the importance of preserving the natural view the Voyageurs saw and, equally as important, the ecosystems that have sustained First Nations for generations.”

In 2005, NCC and The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes Program in the U.S. identified Lake Superior’s northwest coast as a high priority for conservation based on their binational Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint for Terrestrial and Aquatic Biodiversity. The two organizations undertook this study to identify the lands and waters important to conserving the diversity of life found in the Great Lakes region.

The Big Trout Bay acquisition is part of NCC’s ongoing effort to protect 70 miles of undeveloped shoreline and more than 12,500 acres on the north shore of Lake Superior. In 2009, NCC and The Nature Conservancy’s Minnesota and Wisconsin programs, with support from both U.S. and Canadian donors, worked together to protect the 4,725-acre Wilson Island archipelago. To date, NCC has conserved 7,806 acres, including 44 miles of shoreline, along Lake Superior’s northwest shore.


About the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is Canada’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved over 74,000 hectares (184,000 acres) in Ontario. For more information, visit: www.natureconservancy.ca/on.


About The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.8 million acres of land. For more information, visit: www.conservationfund.org.


The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Cate Harrington
(608) 316-6416
charrington@tnc.org

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