The Conservation Fund helped secure the opportunity for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to purchase the easement from the Lyme Timber Company, while also helping the DNR design the conservation easement. This significant effort was made possible with funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation, through the Forest Legacy Program; Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program; and key support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Enbridge’s Neutral Footprint Fund and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through Walmart’s Acres for America Program.


The easement preserves nearly 14 miles of tributaries and streams and approximately 83 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 terms of 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 and a shifting mosaic of forest bird habitat.

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 globally significant pine barrens 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.

“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


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.


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.