The Trust for Public Land announces that a 120-acre natural area on Upper Cullen Lake in Nisswa has been protected by Crow Wing County and The Trust for Public Land.
“The Upper Cullen Lake parcel has high environmental and recreational values,” said Kirk Titus, Land Services supervisor for Crow Wing County. “It really enhances the Crow Wing County Memorial Forest.”
The land is immediately adjacent to Crow Wing County Memorial Forest, which is owned by Crow Wing County. With this purchase, the Memorial Forest will now have a direct connection to Upper Cullen Lake.
Crow Wing County will now be the permanent steward of the land, providing for public hiking, hunting and fishing, while protecting the land’s biodiversity.
The land is considered by conservation experts to provide critical habitat for a variety of species of wildlife, including many of those in greatest conservation need, such as bald eagles and Blanding’s turtles.
It has more than 1,000 feet of a designated trout stream and 1,500 feet of lakeshore, so keeping the land in its natural state will also protect important spawning habitat for a variety of fish.
“This is exciting news for people who enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking and just being in nature,” said state Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter, who serves on the Minnesota House Legacy Committee, which allocates funding for a variety of conservation initiatives. “This is a special place, and now future generations of Minnesotans are going to be able to enjoy it in its natural state.”
Protection of this land has been a high priority for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Prior to The Trust for Public Land’s purchase for conservation, land along the shoreline had been subdivided into a number of separate lots and had been listed for sale.
Working with the state and Crow Wing County, land conservation experts from The Trust for Public Land negotiated an option to purchase the land. Funding for the conservation purchase came from a state government appropriation of lottery proceeds and a contribution from the landowner.
The purchase of the land was finalized July 16. Lottery proceeds are from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources.
“Crow Wing County has been a great conservation partner at Upper Cullen Lake,” said Susan Schmidt, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Minnesota Office.