Fall greetings from Landmark Conservancy!
The leaves are beginning to turn, and children have returned to their daily school routines. An average family Saturday might include sleeping a bit late, checking in with friends on social media, some shopping, and a drive-through stop for lunch. All fine things in moderation, but not necessarily a day that feeds the body and mind.
In a community that invests in parks and trails, the same family might rise early to get some practice in at the local mountain biking skills course, and head over to the local nature preserve for a picnic. They might spend a couple hours chasing butterflies in an open meadow, hike a path through the forest along scenic vistas, and rest in the cool shade of the river inlet. A stop at the nearby visitor center, where they learn about the natural and cultural history of the area, completes the day.
Your support today promotes access to nature and outdoor recreation and will help foster conservation values in the next generation.
The citizens of Prescott, Wisconsin have been developing a vision of parks and trails for decades. The 3-acre bluff overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers was originally named Tourist Park and opened to the public in 1928. In 1981, the park was chosen to be the release site of the rehabilitated eagle, Freedom, a famous symbol of conservation efforts to revive the declining American bald eagle population. In 1982, the park was renamed Freedom Park.
Friends of Freedom Park is the community-driven non-profit organization that first envisioned a new era for Freedom Park. This vision grew to include a state-of-the-art learning center, offering upgraded amenities accessible to all guests, called the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center.
Coulee River Trails is a non-profit community group under the fiscal sponsorship of Friends of Freedom Park that is committed to developing and maintaining a regional trail system in the Prescott area. Their work strives to protect nationally significant habitat as a nature reserve and promote outdoor activity by creating a trail system to allow walkers and bikers to explore and enjoy the unique confluence region.
Three years ago, the leadership of Friends of Freedom Park and Coulee River Trails approached Landmark Conservancy, inviting us to become part of this vision that combines conservation and recreation. Together, we explored the possibility of purchasing a 76-acre property known locally as Pine Coulee. A willing landowner and grant funding from the State of Wisconsin have propelled this vision forward, and with your help, it can become a reality as soon as next year!
Landmark Conservancy has protected 41,222 acres to date across northwest Wisconsin, and the purchase of Pine Coulee will add to the 24 properties we currently own. As a nationally accredited nonprofit land trust, our board and staff prioritize safety, security, and public access improvements on our owned land comprising 3,000 acres, as well as enhancing the conservation and habitat value through restoration.
Pine Coulee Ecological Features:
- Historic Pine Coulee and its scenic rocky “gorge” are unique to the area.
- Native prairie and oak savanna remnants capture the area’s natural history and show great potential for restoration.
- High climate resilience means that the property will continue to host high biodiversity as our climate changes.
- Intact forest along the Mississippi River flyway provides important habitat for resident breeding birds and migratory bird stopover.
- Access to diverse ecological communities helps illustrate the importance of permanent land protection and the multiple benefits of habitat, recreation, aesthetics, and ecosystem services.
Broad support from individuals like you will help us cross the finish line. Please consider a gift today!
Our mutual goals are to make the property available to the community, protect the ecological resources while improving visitor access through select infrastructure investment, and continue to develop planned trail connections with the community.
To be successful in this acquisition, Landmark Conservancy needs to raise just shy of a million dollars, and we’re halfway there.