TPL to donate 729 acres along St. Croix River north of Chisago City to Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources to manage as part of Chengwatana State Forest; donating land to DNR protects native ecosystems, drinking water, provides public recreation access

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota , July 5, 2022 (press release) –

Trust for Public Land, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Xcel Energy, and Wild Rivers Conservancy announced today that 729 acres along the St. Croix River will be donated and preserved for public use.

“For generations to come, this place will be protected and treasured by countless hikers, hunters, and wildlife viewers,” said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota State Director for Trust for Public Land. “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.”

TPL will donate the property, which is just north of Chisago City, to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to manage as part of the Chengwatana State Forest. Donating the land to the DNR safeguards the diversity of native ecosystems, improves connectivity between natural lands, protects drinking water, and provides public access for recreational activities.

“The benefits of public land projects like this are tremendous, providing clean water and air, high quality habitat, and recreational opportunities. ,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “We look forward to managing this land to meet Minnesotans’ recreation, conservation and economic needs into the future.”

Xcel Energy owned the land for roughly a century, and TPL led the effort to purchase it using a grant funded by the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund. The Fund is part of the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy amendment passed in 2008 to increase the sales tax by 3/8 of one percent to, among other things, protect, enhance, and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat.

“Xcel Energy is committed to environmental stewardship, so we are proud to partner with Trust for Public Land to protect this special place and preserve it for future generations,” said John Marshall, regional vice president, Community Relations & Foundation at Xcel Energy.

Wild Rivers Conservancy is the official nonprofit partner of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and responsible for program administration, and landowner outreach and engagement.

The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway is a federally protected 252-mile system of riverways located in eastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, including the St. Croix River on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. It is one of the original eight National Wild and Scenic Rivers. In partnership with others, TPL has completed 24 land protection projects protecting 6,369 in this area.

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About Trust for Public Land

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.

About the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

The mission of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is to work with Minnesotans to conserve and manage the state's natural resources, to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and to provide for commercial uses of natural resources in a way that creates a sustainable quality of life. The DNR is one department, working through seven divisions, organized into four geographical regions, to effectively and efficiently manage natural resources across the state and provide high quality services and experiences for resource users. Minnesota has approximately 51 million total land acres. The DNR administers 5.6 million acres of state land, or about 11 percent of Minnesota’s total land area.. Learn more at dnr.state.mn.us.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Wild Rivers Conservancy

Wild Rivers Conservancy is the official nonprofit partner of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. It inspires stewardship to forever ensure the rare ecological integrity of the St. Croix and Namekagon Riverway. Learn more at wildriversconservancy.org.

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