Drive just a couple of miles north of the town of Stillwater and you'll find yourself in the rolling landscape of the St. Croix River Valley. Acres of rolling farm fields are interrupted by stands of forest and other open spaces.
It's in this bucolic landscape that the Docksteader family has lived for over a hundred years. And now, nearly 90 acres have been preserved forever by Sharon Docksteader.
Located within an Important Bird Area designated by Audubon Minnesota, the land contains key habitat for red-shouldered hawk, rose-breasted grosbeak and Louisiana waterthrush. The nearby St. Croix River is an important highway for migratory birds as well.
The mix of forest and open lands are important for bird and other wildlife species, but it also provides a scenic backdrop for paddlers on the St. Croix Wild and Scenic River. In fact, this new conservation easement is adjacent to a scenic easement that's held by the National Park Service.
Sharon was thrilled to complete this easement, saying with tears in her eyes that she thought her parents "would be pleased" to know that their land would always remain open and natural.
Sharon generously donated this easement, while long-term monitoring expenses have been provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund as approved by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, and by members of the Minnesota Land Trust.