Getting older has its advantages, not the least of which is the perspective to see good conservation advanced across the landscape. In northwest Wisconsin, we are so fortunate to have many public and private conservation partners, including citizens, non-profits, corporations, and all levels of government.
Permanent land protection requires resources – financial resources, professional skills, connections, stewardship capacity and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. A strong partnership brings these resources to the table; and structuring our projects and investments to create the best outcome is critical.
People know the old Landmark favorites, places like the Devil’s Punchbowl and the Brownstone Trail, and the newer, somewhat lesser-known Landmark preserves like Tyler Forks Community Forest and Meridean Barrens.
For 35 years Landmark Conservancy has also championed other types of acquisition projects. Sometimes we own land for many years before transferring it to another public partner. At other times, we own land for mere seconds before it is conveyed to a local unit of government. And then there’s times when we simply raise money to provide direct financial assistance to another. Beyond a brief celebratory moment, our contribution and involvement become largely invisible.
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For a forward-looking organization, this is par for the course. Remember, it’s the land that’s important. But in order to fully leverage our past accomplishments to garner the resources to move ahead, we realize the necessity of looking back, to share the value of our work with a wider audience. With a recent boost in staff capacity, we now have the team in place and the breathing room to fully appreciate the accomplishments of yesterday.
Maiden Rock Bluff State Natural Area
Did you know that Hildur Lake (part of the Inch Lake State Natural Area) in Bayfield County was a Landmark project before being conveyed to the State of Wisconsin? Or how about Maiden Rock Bluff State Natural Area in Pepin County? Before Dog Island Lake in Chippewa County had its extensive ski trail system, it was a Landmark acquisition. Landmark owned the Wert Family Nature Preserve in St. Croix Falls for two full years before transferring it to the City.
The Lost Creek Headwaters acquisition in Bayfield County is a recent example. This acquisition builds on a complex of Landmark projects that began over 15 years ago. You can learn more about this collaborative conservation project in the video below. The journey is important, but each finish line of providing lasting land protection is our goal.