ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired to KARE11 on Sept. 20, 2021.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that the agency has received more than 700 acres of land that will be added to the Chengwatana State Forest.
National nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) donated 729 acres of land along the St. Croix River near Pine City to the DNR that will be preserved as public land for Minnesotans to enjoy for generations to come.
The donated land includes forest, grassland, and several creeks, streams and ponds that will "safeguard the diversity of native ecosystems, improve connectivity between natural lands, protect drinking water and provide public access for recreational activities," the DNR said in a statement Tuesday.
“Spending time outdoors is critically important for our mental and physical health, and with about 3 million people in the Twin Cities an easy day-trip away, this is a big win for our people and our planet,” said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota state director for TPL in a news release.
Chengwatana State Forest is located about an hour north of Chisago City and less than 90 minutes from the Twin Cities.
Xcel Energy previously owned the land for nearly a century before selling it to TPL, which says it has protected more than 3 million acres of public land since 1972.
“This size of acquisition is pretty uncommon,” but, “is a key acquisition to keep it [the land] in its natural state,” DNR Forestry Supervisor Jeremey Fauskee said.
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