Just last week we completed easement number 458 - and it's a nice one for good, solid practical reasons, and also for a warm fuzzy reason.
First the practical reason: this easement functions as the missing puzzle piece between an easement that was completed last June on Whitefish Lake, and the Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area to the south. It creates a 175-acre oasis of undeveloped shoreline and natural area that is exactly perfect for the fox, black bear, otter, sharp-tail grouse and hooded merganser that live there.
Located on the very busy Whitefish Chain of Lakes, this easement includes over 500 feet of shoreline on Whitefish Lake, and another 3,500 on the neighboring ponds that connect Whitefish Lake to Star Lake, site of a wilderness youth camp to the south.
That gets us to the warm fuzzy reason. This easement represents three generations of Uppgaards who have generously donated land for the benefit of wildlife and their neighbors.
Lindstrom landowner Joan Barnes once fought for the rights of a resident beaver in the Minnesota Supreme Court – and won. Now she has taken her passion for conservation to a different level by protecting her 79-acre property from development forever.
Joan has reason for concern. From 2000 to 2010 the population of Chisago County increased over 30 percent, with increasing competition for limited space between landowners and wildlife. The beavers who won their right to maintain their den in wetlands on Joan’s property are now gone, trapped by neighbors. While Joan no longer finds beaver on her property, she does see bear, fox, grouse and sandhill cranes.
The natural and undisturbed forests, grasslands and wetlands of this property create attractive habitat to support a wide range of species such as bald eagle, common tern, osprey, wood turtle, trumpeter swan, yellow rails and sharp-tailed sparrow. It is part of a major migratory corridor for waterbirds and serves as one of the state’s most critical areas for spotted salamander and other amphibians.
Natural shoreline on Chalberg Creek and surrounding beaver ponds are now protected forever thanks to the generosity and vision of landowners Linda and Ed Henrickson, who donated the easement.
The property's natural, unaltered shoreline and wetlands provide important breeding areas for fish and other aquatic creaties, and filters water as it flows into Chalberg Creek, a DNR designated trout stream.