The buzz of chainsaws is punctuated by a crack of wood. Though it may seem counterintuitive, even jarring, this is the sound of forest restoration—specifically, restoration of 115 acres in Lake County, Minnesota.

The owners of the property, situated directly between Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls State Parks, acquired a conservation easement in 2019, permanently protecting 950 acres dominated by forest and wetlands. Prior to the Land Trust’s involvement, they had been actively restoring the landscape, adding 2,000 new trees over the course of several years.

According to Haley Golz, Minnesota Land Trust Restoration Program Manager, “The increasing prevalence and scale of climate change-related wildfires puts forest restoration front and center, especially in the Arrowhead region where there are large sections of previously harvested forest that are often at a higher risk for fueling fires.”

Haley has been working with the landowners to address their concerns about low species diversity and a large number of dead and dying balsams due to a budworm infestation on their property. “After a disturbance, like clearcutting, infestation, or fire, aspens are one of the first trees to establish, followed closely by balsams.

Without effective management, dense, low diversity forests comprised entirely of these early establishing trees can become an incredible fuel source for fire.”

Forest Restoration Cycle

This forest restoration project cycles through three phases: cutting forest gaps to allow enough sunlight to support new trees; removing brush around recently planted trees to support them as they try to establish; and planting long-lived trees like white pine, white cedar, and red pine.

These trees’ lifespans are 200 to 800 years, and the pines’ thick, protective bark makes them naturally resistant to moderately intense fires.

Helping establish old-growth forests is part of the Minnesota Land Trust’s climate-forward restoration agenda.

Balsam skeletons along the edge of a forested portion of the protected property

According to the US Forest Service, 15–40% of Minnesota’s forested acres contained old growth trees prior to European settlement. Today, it’s only about 2%.

“Forests have the potential to offset around one-third of global emissions—as a natural climate solution they’re pretty unrivaled,” said Haley. “This permanently protected forest will benefit generations to come by helping reduce the spread of fire, preserve air quality, and sequester more carbon over the lifetime of the trees.” Learn more about the Land Trust’s habitat restoration work across Minnesota.

Article Contributors

Written by: Sarah Sullivan—Communications & Marketing Manager
Professional review by: Haley Golz—Restoration Program Manager

As Seen in the 2023 Fall Review

Thank you for your continued support of habitat conservation, restoration, and nature engagement in Minnesota.

Cover of the Fall Review depicts a young boy sitting on tree roots in a forest

More Private Lands Restoration Projects

This permanent conservation easement was made possible thanks to the members of the Minnesota Land Trust and Hennepin County with funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature and recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC).

Our Mission

The Minnesota Land Trust protects and restores Minnesota’s most vital natural lands. Learn more.

Support Us

A donation to the Minnesota Land Trust is an investment in conservation for Minnesota.

Donate Now

Privacy Policy | Charitable Solicitation Disclosures

The Minnesota Land Trust is a 501(c)3 public charity.

For: Staff Members | Board Members

Copyright © 2013 - 2024 Minnesota Land Trust

Copyright © 2024 Minnesota Land Trust

2356 University Ave W Ste 240, Saint Paul, MN 55114
394 S Lake Ave, Ste 404, Duluth, MN 55802


Staff Directory
Contact Information & Directions
Sign up for E-News
Website Privacy Policy