In the upper reaches of Kittson County, deep in Northwestern Minnesota, lies the property of Greg Peterson. This property is covered by 80 acres of classic Minnesota aspen woodland and sedge meadow wetlands – home to birds, bear, elk, and moose. And now, it’s protected forever by a conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust.
Greg originally bought his land over 30 years ago, primarily to use for hunting. By protecting it, he hopes that future generations will be able to enjoy the land as he does. “This shouldn’t be turned into something that it isn’t in the future,” says Greg. “I plan to keep this land, and will try and keep it in the family. With this easement, it will stay exactly as it is.”
More than just beautiful land to recreate on, this property is part of a larger complex of protected public and private lands spanning over 20,000 acres that are vital to birds that live in or migrate through Kittson County. The property falls within an Audubon Important Bird Area (IBA) and its protection is the result of a partnership between the Minnesota Land Trust and Audubon Minnesota. With support from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC), the goal of the partnership is to preserve essential wildlife habitat in the Tallgrass Aspen Parkland eco-region where Audubon Minnesota has documented over 262 different bird species.
Protecting private land can expand the impacts of other protected public and private lands, by creating larger habitat blocks and corridors for wildlife.This is especially important for the last few remaining elk herds in Minnesota whereby protecting natural grasslands can also relieve some of the conflicts that arise when elk browse cultivated lands. Additionally, the fact that the land will stay private means landowners will continue to pay property taxes, hunt, recreate, and manage the land as they have been.