As Otter Tail County grows, development has begun to encroach on formerly natural areas, impacting wildlife habitat and water quality. Fortunately, conservation-minded individuals have stepped up around the region to protect the lands and waters we all rely on. Recently Jeffrey and Heidi Samuelson worked with the Minnesota Land Trust to preserve in perpetuity their unique property on Perch Lake.
For over 20 years the Samuelsons have maintained and lived on their property — enjoying good fishing, teaching their kids to hunt and raising cattle on the plentiful grassland. “We have a little bit of everything Minnesota has to offer here,” says Heidi of their property, “and this program enabled us to mesh things — our grass-fed beef operation, our conservation practices, and keeping the land for hunting, fishing, and recreation. It’s a nice balance.”
The 267-acre property isn’t just good for the people living on it, but it’s important wildlife habitat as well. Black bears, gray wolves, common loons, and white pelicans all call the area home. The undeveloped shoreline of this property protects roughly half the shoreline of Perch Lake, ensuring that water quality will remain high for walleye and other fish.
The Samuelsons worked with the Land Trust to develop a conservation grazing management plan to continue to use the land as they have, while maintaining the habitat and natural land that preserves the water quality of the lake.
“Working with families like the Samuelsons is the best way for us to protect these important natural assets, while still ensuring their family and whoever owns the land in the future can continue to use and enjoy it,” says Kristina Geiger, program manager at the Minnesota Land Trust. “By working with the Land Trust, this land will stay in private hands and Jeff and Heidi can continue to manage it the way they have for years to come.”
“This project is a win-win for everyone,” says Jeffrey. “For wildlife, for the people of Minnesota, for our Samuelson family. Everything works here. And it’s provided for us a good home, and a good future for our kids.” “It provides a legacy to not only our children, but for future generations,” adds Heidi.