Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Minnesota acquires Snake River property with assistance from The Nature Conservancy
"This picturesque land will enable the state to protect an additional 1.8 miles of Snake River shoreline and enhance the Snake River State Forest, a working forest that provides for timber production, wildlife habitat and recreational activities," said Dave Schuller, DNR Forestry Division lands program coordinator.
The property is strategically located in a large bend in the river, with state forest to the east and the Snake River bordering the rest of the property. It creates a natural boundary for the state forest, reducing the need to determine property lines, thereby reducing management costs.
Wildlife benefitting from state protection and management of this property include white-tailed deer, black bears, gray and red fox, beavers and muskrats. The property will protect shoreline habitat for walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and catfish found in the Snake River, one of the few rivers in Minnesota that is also home to lake sturgeon. This significantly increases shoreline protection provided by the state forest from 12 miles to 14 miles. The additional 405 acres will provide expanded opportunities for hunting, fishing, paddling along undeveloped shoreline, hiking, bird watching and many other outdoor recreation activities.
The Aanestads acquired the property in the early 1970s. They received lots of interest from buyers who wanted to subdivide the property and build houses.
"We always had it in mind to see the land protected so everybody could have access to it," said Robert Aanestad. "It's a very beautiful property and it borders the Snake River. The DNR will accomplish our goal of keeping it in its natural state."
This land acquisition was made possible through the use of Outdoor Heritage Funds provided by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, approved by Minnesota voters in 2008, and Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Match Funds made available through a grant match of donations provided by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a nonprofit organization that helps protect lands and waters throughout the United States and in more than 30 countries.
The Nature Conservancy is thrilled to help DNR conserve a key piece of the Snake River.
"The Snake River is a key tributary of the St. Croix River, and as a result it is important to the health of the Upper Mississippi River," said Doug Shaw, the Conservancy's assistant director. "The Snake is in very good natural condition and we need to keep it that way for wildlife, clean water, outdoor recreation and our economy."
The DNR thanks the Aanestaad family for their willingness to work with the department, the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council for its support in using Outdoor Heritage Funds for the acquisition, and TNC for stepping in with funding through the RIM program.
"It was a real team effort," said Schuller.