The Duluth News Tribune recently published a great story about our pilot program with the City of Duluth, with the goal of improving the city's recreation infrastructure. You can read more about this new initiative below, and you can read the article here.
We are piloting a new initiative to protect and promote nature-based recreational lands, including those essential for hiking, paddling, bird watching, trail running, skiing, mountain biking, and more.
Hansi Johnson of Duluth, a nationally-recognized expert in trail development and adventure sports, will spearhead this new program for the Minnesota Land Trust beginning September 2, 2014.
As Director of Recreational Lands, Hansi Johnson brings a wealth of experience and a passion for outdoor recreation to his new position, based in the Minnesota Land Trust’s Duluth office.
For the past five and a half years, Hansi was the Regional Director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), helping volunteer clubs such as the Duluth-based Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) work within their communities to create destination quality, sustainable, off road cycling trail experiences.
You can read more about this exciting new initiative here.
Our program, along with Recreation Lands Director Hansi Johnson, was mentioned in the latest issue of Outside Magazine highlighting Duluth as one of the 16 best places to live in America! You can read the article here.
Wetlands act as the “kidneys of the landscape,” filtering runoff that flows into lakes, streams, rivers, and underground aquifers. They also provide critical nesting and feeding habitat to many species and are a distinct feature of the Minnesota landscape. Yet the area that they cover in the state has been cut in half since pre-settlement. Wetland loss is particularly severe in the western, prairie-pothole region, where over 90% of wetlands are gone.
The Minnesota Land Trust is working to combat wetland loss with its new and innovative Wetland Habitat Protection Plan. The program uses a market-based and cost-effective approach to acquire conservation easements from private landowners in the Prairie-Forest transition area in Central Minnesota. The project was made possible by grants from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the McKnight Foundation.
One of the first project complexes under the Wetland Protection Program has been completed around Otter Tail Lake and Little Crow Lake in Lida and Dora Townships. The properties, which have been in landowner, Carol Kratzke’s family for decades, include sensitive shoreline, aquatic ecosystems, prairie, and hardwood forests that provide important habitat to a variety of plant and animal species, especially amphibians and migratory songbirds.
Like many scenic areas in Minnesota, development on One Lake, about seven miles northeast of Backus in Cass County, is exploding. Small lake cabins are being expanded and converted into winterized, year-round dwellings, and increasing numbers of vacation homes pop up along lake shores.
In the face of such changes, sensitive shorelines are impacted. Thanks to the Outdoor Heritage Fund and in partnership with the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation (LLAWF),the Minnesota Land Trust has protected 1,521 feet of pristine sensitive shoreline on One Lake (also known as Sand Lake) in an effort to preserve the conservation and scenic values of the area.
The conservation agreement protects over 40 acres of woodlands, mixed northern hardwoods, and diverse wetland types interspersed with open grasslands. These natural terrestrial and aquatic communities provide significant habitat and foraging grounds for a large variety of plant and wildlife species, including black bears, bald eagles, common loons, red-necked grebes, and least darters. The easement also provides outstanding scenic views visible from highway 84.