The heart of our mission is land protection. We've preserved more than 48,000 acres and over a million feet of shoreline, primarily through the use of conservation easements. The lands we protect and the reasons for protection vary. Here's a snapshot of the types of land we preserve:
While Minnesota has many acres of land devoted to public parks and natural areas, there are countless places where development and other land uses threaten the quality of wildlife habitat or the purity of our waters.
These are the farms, forests, natural shorelines and undeveloped properties owned by individuals and families that when protected, add value to the public lands that already serve us well. We've identified key priority areas around the state, and work with willing landowners to conserve parcels in those areas.
We believe that beautiful natural places are a necessity of life for all creatures. Our attraction to those beautiful places makes us want to build things on them – to live there, visit, play there. But in doing so, access can be limited to just a few people -- and animal, fish and bird habitat is often severely compromised.
The Minnesota Land Trust works with local communities and park districts to protect their open spaces forever. Why is that necessary? Today’s leaders are concerned that tomorrow’s budget or development pressures will usurp the long-term public benefit that these beautiful places provide.
The Minnesota Land Trust's conservation easement ensures they stay protected forever. Notable projects include: the Grand Marais Harbor, Gale Woods Farm (Minnetrista), Baypoint Park (Red Wing) and parts of Minnesota Point in Duluth.
Scenic Vistas & Iconic Landmarks
While we're driven to preserve habitat and protect our water resources, one of Minnesota’s most precious resources is embodied in our scenic vistas and iconic landmarks. The grandeur of the Mississippi River bluffs; the wide expanses of open prairie; quiet stands of tall, stately pines next to pristine lakes; waves crashing on a rocky Lake Superior shoreline. These are just some of the images that come to mind when we asked: "what makes Minnesota special?"
In addition to land protection along several Scenic Byways, the Land Trust has protected well-known landmarks such as Listening Point on Burntside Lake and Ernest Oberholtzer's Review Islands in Rainy Lake. These touchstones to Minnesota's historic conservation movement continue to serve the public as places of reflection and inspiration. These and other sites remain protected forever by the Minnesota Land Trust.
Conservation Design and Development
In its simplest form, conservation design is a broad term for the process of developing a particular parcel of land in a manner that respects the site’s natural and cultural features. It usually addresses new residential developments in rural or suburban settings.
Conservation design is not an entirely new nor complex concept. In the 1960s and 1970s, developments like Keya Paha in Rice County and Jonathon in Chaska tested the feasibility of protecting lakeshore and other natural features for all the residents to enjoy, rather than parceling it off for the exclusive appreciation of a few homeowners.
The Minnesota Land Trust has worked with numerous developers and the local communities to help create conservation developments in over 35 residential communities where we hold conservation easements over the shared trails, shoreline and open space.
Click here for a map of properties protected since 1991.