What will the quality of our waters, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat 
be 25, 30, 50 years from now? 


If you’re concerned about this and want to do something about it—something that will last forever—consider protecting your own “special place”  in North Central Minnesota. 

Let Us Help You.  Follow these landowner’s examples of protecting the places they loved.  The Foundation encourages and accepts donations of shoreland and forested property from conservation–minded landowners who want to leave a legacy of natural resource for public enjoyment and protection of fish and wildlife habitat. Or, we can help you explore options for selling your property while preserving its conservation value. If you want to retain ownership, we can facilitate the establishment of a conservation easement on your property, assist you with resources, and/or make referrals to other organizations that can best help you meet your conservation goals.  Call us at 218-675-5773 or contact us today.


A Memorial Tribute to Her Late Husband and Father 

As a generous gift, Mary Harlow donated 300 feet of shoreline and 10 upland acres on Long Lake, near Walker, to the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation as a memorial and tribute to her late husband, John Harlow, and father, John Baird,  who were avid outdoorsmen and appreciative of the natural environment. The Foundation in turn conveyed the property to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Now named the Baird-Harlow Wildlife Preserve, the land this family enjoyed for many years is preserved in its natural state and managed by the state for the recreational use and enjoyment of the people of Minnesota. 

 

Using Conservation Easements to Protect Your Special Place 

Leonard and Bethel Anderson had dreamed of protecting their Aitkin County property on Turtle Lake for a number of years. The support available to them through the Legacy Grant to the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation for out-of-pocket costs of putting a conservation easement on their property suddenly made their dreams come true. Over the years the Andersons had noticed small resorts being converted to large year-round homes with loss of natural shorelines. They observed that sandhill cranes visited Turtle Lake, but not those lakes with year-round homes. They noticed the same thing with ring-necked ducks and other wildlife. Leonard noted: "This place is is not just special to us, it's also special to the birds and the monarchs and all the other animals that we see. If we don't do something to protect this place, it might not be so special in the future."  The conservation easement placed on their property, now held by the Minnesota Land Trust as a grant partner,  permanetly protected 1,200 feet of sensitive shoreland on Turtle Lake along with 40 acres of upland, including a naturalized meadow that will continue to sustain monarch butterflies long into the future.

Read mores stories about landowners who have protected their special shorelands and forest lands with a conservation easement. 

 Everybody Wins 

Camp Olson on the shores of Little Boy Lake has been a welcome summer haven for campers young and old for many years.  Facing financial concerns for continued operation, the Camp considered selling some of its land for development. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, Cass County Environmental Services, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, Wabedo Township, and Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the state’s first shoreland conservation easement was completed to permanently protect over 4,200 feet of shoreline and 195 acres of upland owned by Camp Olson.  The easement purchased for $242,500 prevents future development while allowing the Camp to continue to operate and teach hundreds of kids each year about respect and appreciation for their natural environment. Everybody wins with a conservation easement—the land is protected yet private ownership is maintained. Cass County now holds the conservation easement and provides long-term stewardship to insure the conditions of the easement are upheld for the benefit of campers and the public alike.  


Family Land Protected Forever 

In 2002, Gene and Katie Bradfield generously donated 203 acres, including 2,000 feet of natural shoreline that embraces Portage, Rice and Elbow lakes, to the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation. The reason? To pass along a natural heritage that had been in their family for over 50 years. Like many Minnesotans, the Bradfields wanted to not only protect the wildlife and lake environment from future development, they also wanted to make sure that others would have the opportunity to spend time on land that has no trace of humanity—just the pure, natural state of creation evolving over time. With great pride and peace of mind, Gene said: “We’re pleased to be able to leave a lasting legacy of love for the great outdoors to generations of Minnesotans to come.”


Leveraging Their Gift 

One gift deserves another—that was the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation’s philosophy upon receiving a generous gift of land from Jack and Betty Thomas. Their gift of 14 acres of upland and 454 feet of shoreline on an environmentally sensitive portion of Mann Lake was gifted in return to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to be managed as a state Aquatic Management Area (AMA). By donating the land to the DNR, the Foundation’s gift triggered the release of over $600,000 from the “Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM)” Program, which is funded primarily from the sale of Critical Habitat License Plates.  The RIM funds were used by the Foundation to purchase 1,700 feet of sensitive lakeshore in Lantern Bay on Woman Lake. One gift of sensitive shoreland was used to leverage the protection of additional shoreland—a gift that keeps on giving the assurance of a home for fish and wildlife and continued recreational opportunities for all to appreciate.