26 November 2019
Landmark Conservancy Acquires Nearly 600 Acres Adjacent to Copper Falls State Park
Landmark Conservancy has purchased nearly 600 acres adjacent to Copper Falls State Park. This acquisition will conserve ecologically unique lands and provide protections to one of the top ten state parks and its 140,000 annual visitors.
We look forward to working with area partners to develop public access for non-motorized recreation on this newly acquired land, including hiking, hunting, fishing, trapping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and wildlife viewing. Last year the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources released an extensive analysis on recreational needs in the state; over 80% of survey respondents indicated they felt more recreational opportunities were needed in the Great Northwest Region, with more trails and fishing opportunities ranking high among identified needs.
“Landmark was fortunate to have broad support from the community for protection of this property, including Ashland County, Town of Morse, Trout Unlimited’s state council and local Wild Rivers chapter, Northland College, trails and hunting clubs, and Cozy Valley residents,” said Erika Lang, Conservation Manager. The land trust secured state and federal funds to purchase the property, including grants from Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and the highly competitive U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest Program.
Conservation of the land provides important protection for wildlife as well as water quality, and further protects the natural resources of Copper Falls State Park. As Landmark develops new recreational experiences, they will work closely with the State Park to complement their visitor experiences and are eager to expand fishing opportunities. It is anticipated that these efforts may increase tourism and provide economic benefits for the region.
“Environmentally, this project will help protect water quality in the Bad River watershed and Lake Superior,” said Lindsey Ketchel, executive director. “By completing this land purchase, we are protecting a biologically rich forest and riverine environments that provide critical year-round habitat for various plants and animals, including neo-tropical migratory birds. Keeping the property is its forested condition and managing it sustainably will provide multiple benefits including flood mitigation and increased resiliency of the landscape to changes in climate.”
Tom Fitz, Professor of Geology at Northland College and also a member of Landmark Conservancy’s Board of Directors, is excited about opportunities for both recreation and research within the Forest. “The interesting and varied landscape was created by the deposition of sand and gravel in among large blocks of ice as the last glacier melted about 13,000 years ago, followed by erosion by the Tyler Forks River and its tributaries,” said Dr. Fitz. “Hiking through the kettles, valleys and ridges in the landscape will make for some fun adventures. The landscape and forest will be excellent outdoor laboratories for geology, soils, and forest ecology research — some of which is already underway.”
Planning is underway for initial infrastructure including the construction of parking areas, trail work and signage. Landmark Conservancy welcomes participation and support from individuals, businesses and community groups — Make a gift today!