From Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
-- The Koochiching Forest Legacy Project is receiving nearly $3.5 million in federal funding, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The announcement was made during a news conference at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Central Office in St. Paul.
These federal funds, combined with state funds, will protect the forest economy and the recreational and ecological resources on more than 76,000 acres of forest land owned by Forest Capital Partners in Koochiching County. The property is located adjacent to the Superior National Forest, the Bois Forte Indian Reservation, and Minnesota's largest state forest, the Koochiching State Forest.
"Purchasing a working forest conservation easement that restricts subdivision and precludes development of the property requires leveraging state and federal funds," said Richard Peterson, DNR's Forest Legacy coordinator.
"This project builds on the recently completed Koochiching-Washington Forest Legacy Project that protects multiple public benefits on more than 51,000 acres owned by Forest Capital Partners in southern Koochiching and northern Itasca counties."
The project features many recreational, economic and ecological benefits including hunting, fishing, camping, outdoor sports, and the revenue and jobs provided by wood and wood products industry. Ecological benefits include the conservation of rare boglands and wetlands that provide wildlife habitat, including habitat for rare and threatened species. Healthy forests also contribute to cleaner air and water quality.
Overall funding for this and other Minnesota Forest Legacy projects come from a combination of federal and state funds. Partners in the project include Forest Capital Partners, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Koochiching County, The Trust for Public Lands, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.
Minnesota joined the federal Forest Legacy Program in 1999 and since then has used federal, state and private funds to protect nearly 66,000 acres throughout the state. Since 2005, Minnesota's Forest Legacy Program has grown greatly through the cooperative and collaborative efforts of the Minnesota Forest Legacy Partnership, a unique public-private partnership that promotes the use of conservation easements and other tools to retain Minnesota's healthy, working forests.