As the population of Anoka County has rapidly grown, development has begun to encroach on important natural areas and habitat. Fortunately, conservation-minded individuals like Steve and Julie Gaffney along with their sons Lucas and Robert, have stepped up around the region to protect the lands and waters we all rely on. Recently the Gaffneys worked with the Minnesota Land Trust to preserve their unique property adjoining the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area.

Eastern Towhee Surrounded on three sides by natural and protected state lands, the Gaffney property is an oasis for birds and wildlife that frequent the WMA. Situated in an Audubon Important Bird Area, numerous important bird species have been spotted on the property including red-headed woodpecker, lark sparrow, and eastern towhee. In addition, the property helps clean and protect water in the Sunrise River watershed, which replenishes groundwater supplies for the Twin Cities metro area.

“It’s hard to understate just how important this property is in relation to Carlos Avery WMA,” says Kristina Geiger, program manager for the Minnesota Land Trust. “By protecting this land, we’re filling a gap created by private land in the WMA, ensuring that the habitat to the birds it provides will stay this way forever.”

“Having private landowners like the Gaffneys protect their land is a win-win for everyone,” says Kris Larson, executive director of the Minnesota Land Trust. “This land will remain in private ownership and the Gaffneys can continue to use it as they always have, and at the same time the public will benefit from this new protected habitat that expands the impact of the WMA.”

Special Thanks

Legacy logoThis permanent conservation easement was made possible by the members of the Minnesota Land Trust, with funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature and recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC). Thank you to Steve and Julie Gaffney for protecting this unique property forever.





Species Protected

red-headed woodpecker, lark sparrow, eastern towhee



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