posted on June 19, 2009 08:47
On Heels of Pheasant Fest, Wisconsin Build a Wildlife Area Campaign Nets First Land Acquisition
Over 200 acres of restored grasslands and wetlands in St. Croix County to be opened for public hunting
River Falls, Wis. - June 19, 2009 - With the help of Pheasants Forever (PF) and other partners, the Wisconsin Build a Wildlife Area campaign announces its first land acquisition, a 204-acre parcel of restored wetlands and adjacent upland grasslands in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. The area may be open for public hunting and outdoor recreational activities as early as this autumn.
The Build a Wildlife Area campaign was created in 2003 by Pheasants Forever, Outdoor News, and Game Fair as a wide-reaching effort to engage individual donors, corporations, non-profits and government organizations in the creation of permanent public wildlife areas. Since its creation, Gander Mountain has been the campaign's leading financial donor. Through the campaign, each one dollar donation turns into three dollars through matching grants from local, state, and federal sources. Once lands are acquired, they are turned over to the state for management and opened to the public for recreation, including hunting.
With the help of the Build a Wildlife Area campaign and the Kinnickinnic, Indianhead, and Racine Chapters of Pheasants Forever, the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, Inc. (KRLT), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's North American Wetlands Conservation Council, and Ducks Unlimited, the private parcel was sold to the KRLT at a bargain price by the Vern and Becky Nagel family. The unique property contains more than 16 acres of wetlands and 183 acres of adjacent restored prairie grasslands, and will provide habitat for a wide range of wildlife species and additional acreage for public recreation. KRLT intends to donate the property to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for inclusion in the Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Area as the Nagel Wildlife Management Area. KRLT will present this property to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board later this year.
The Wisconsin Build a Wildlife Area campaign's first land acquisition also represents the legacy that will be left in the state from PF's National Pheasant Fest 2009, which drew over 20,000 attendees to Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin this past February. One of PF's goals in bringing its signature event to Wisconsin for the first time was to use event fundraising to help create the first Build a Wildlife Area project in Wisconsin.
"The acquisition and permanent protection of the Nagel property is an outstanding conservation achievement that Pheasants Forever and our partners are very proud of," said Joe Duggan, PF Vice President of Corporate Relations, "We'd like to thank all those who attended National Pheasant Fest for their contributions to the Build a Wildlife Area campaign, as well as a special thanks to Enbridge, Inc., which donated $10,000 to the Build a Wildlife Area campaign efforts in Wisconsin. And last but not least, the Nagel family for their incredible commitment to conservation."
"Becky and I have worked extremely hard over the last 15 years to restore the landscape surrounding our home to native grasses and wildlife habitat," said Vern Nagel, "This work has truly been a labor of love for us and we are so pleased that through this transaction our vision that this land be conserved for the enjoyment of future generations will be realized."
"Protecting this land provides critical habitat for wildlife and ensures future generations will be able to enjoy the area's natural scenic beauty," Wisconsin DNR Secretary Matt Frank said. "I want to thank Pheasants Forever for their important role in protecting the Nagel property. This project demonstrates how we can effectively leverage Stewardship funds to increase public access for hunting and other outdoor activities. Recently reauthorized under Governor Jim Doyle's leadership, the Stewardship Program preserves valuable natural areas and wildlife habitat such as this, protecting water quality and fisheries, and expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation."
Build a Wildlife Area campaigns in six states – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin – have already helped create eight new wildlife areas totaling over 3,000 acres all open to public hunting and recreation. To learn more, or to make a donation to one of the Build a Wildlife Area campaigns, contact Pheasants Forever toll free at (877)773-2070 or online at http://www.pheasantsforever.org/events/bawa/.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.
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