In 2012, the Fund worked with our partners to secure the largest conservation easement in Wisconsin history, conserving the first 44,618 acres of what will become the Brule St. Croix Legacy Forest, a 68,000-acre working landscape that includes the headwaters of the Bois Brule and St. Croix Rivers.

Our Role

With help from The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund helped secure the opportunity for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to purchase the easement from the Lyme Timber Company. Funding came from Enbridge, one of the largest employers in northwest Wisconsin, which provided financial support through the Enbridge Neutral Footprint Fund as part of its corporate commitment to conserve significant forest, wetland and native prairie habitats. The McKnight Foundation provided additional funding.

Why This Project Matters

The easement preserves nearly 13.2 miles of streams and approximately 75 small lakes and ponds located within the headwaters of the St. Croix and Bois Brule Rivers. These rivers serve as sources of drinking water to many nearby towns. Under the easement, vast stretches of sustainably managed forestland will help to filter and clean the waterways while also providing a steady flow of wood products to local mills.

A working forest easement ensures public recreational access to 39 miles of hiking, biking, skiing, snowmobile and ATV trails, including a section of the North Country National Scenic Trail. In addition, the conserved acreage provides habitat for many game and non-game species including sharp-tailed grouse, white-tailed deer, black bear, woodcock and numerous migratory songbirds.

The collaboration between the public and private sector to secure a working forest easement guarantees the sustainable stewardship of the forestland, keeping the property in private ownership and on the tax rolls while supporting local jobs.

Brule-St. Croix Legacy Forest


   


“This purchase provides much needed recreational access for the public to hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, skiing, bird-watching, and ATV and snowmobile trails. It keeps the land in private ownership, generating property taxes and helping keep Wisconsin’s forestry industry strong. It’s a win-win for everybody and helps preserve the celebrated forested character of the north.”
—Cathy Stepp, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Sustainable Forestry? How Does It Work?

Protecting and maintaining working forests, and the communities that depend on them, remains one of the Fund's top conservation priorities. Watch the video to learn why.



Why Do Forests Matter?

At The Conservation Fund, we believe that well-managed forests can be both economically viable and ecologically sustainable, but like all other necessary parts of our national infrastructure, they need to be invested in and maintained. That's why, since 1985, we've protected more than a million forest acres across America. Protecting and maintaining working forests, and the communities that depend on them, remains one of our top conservation priorities.



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