Brad Shinkle’s lifelong love of the outdoors was kindled by his childhood experiences at a wilderness camp in northern Minnesota. By early adulthood, his passion for outdoor adventures prompted his fiancée’s family to give the couple their blessing but cautioned Adaline to “make sure she stays current with her tetanus shot.”
An avid hunter, Brad sought land where he could get away from the bustling Twin Cities metro. Spending time with friends in the Cable area inspired Brad and Adaline to consider northwest Wisconsin, where they initially purchased 160 acres of land in 1991. Incidentally that first hunting season was the year of the famed Halloween Blizzard, which entirely collapsed his canvas wall tent. In the years that followed, the couple added both lodging and land, and enjoy regular visits to their 325-acre property.
Primarily a waterfowl hunter, Brad appreciates the kaleidoscope of avian life sustained by the marsh and hardwood forest, including ducks, geese, and ospreys. He also hunts deer and grouse and has been active in both the statewide Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) and the more grassroots County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC), which involves more than a dozen types of local stakeholders. The property is enrolled in a 10-year monitoring program conducted by the Wisconsin DNR to analyze deer browsing patterns.
The couple enjoys the unique topography and character of the land created by the last ice age. Indicative of “hummocky” glacial landscapes, the property is a mosaic of diverse terrestrial and wetland communities. Spring Lake Creek, a tributary of the Namekagon River, winds through the property for over one-half mile. Brad maintains trails for hiking and snowshoeing and says with a grin that he grows ‘trees and rocks,’ as the frost pushes up a new crop of glacially deposited rocks each year.
Gardening is Adaline’s domain. She has worked to eradicate buckthorn in their suburban neighborhood and sends Brad with native pollinator seeds to distribute throughout their Hayward property when he hunts. A retired school administrator, Adaline is driven to engage in social and political issues and has been involved in climate action for the past 30 years.
Brad always had permanent protection of the property in the back of his mind. He volunteered as a conservation easement monitor with the Minnesota Land Trust and was a supporter of the Couderay Waters Regional Land Trust prior to that local nonprofit joining Landmark at the end of 2020. When his neighbor Andy Baltins protected his land through a conservation easement with Landmark three years ago, Brad was inspired to follow suit.
The Shinkles were delighted to learn of the completion of Mike and Louise Heim’s conservation easement with Landmark this fall as well. In total, the three adjacent properties create a complex of more than 900 permanently conserved acres. Both Brad and Adaline feel that the protection of their Hayward property is an important part of their legacy, and it gives them peace of mind knowing that it will remain intact and continue to host biodiversity in the future.