Minnesota Forest Resources Council Executive Director Dave Zumeta told participants at a recent MFRC-landscape committee summit here in Grand Rapids that parcelization remains at the top of the list of forest policy challenges facing Minnesota.

VFVC blog readers surely are aware of the Minnesota Forest Legacy Partnership, created to address this challenge. To date the Partnership has concluded two major easements, Sugar Hills and the Koochiching-Washington Forest Project.

Community celebrations of the new Kooch-Washington conservation easement in Grand Rapids on Feb 1-2 included a dinner to thank Forest Capital Partners, the landowner, and a 60 mile snowmobile ride through the industrial forestlands now in conservation easement under this agreement.

Forest Capital Partners recognitionKooch-Washington Legacy Project snowmobile ride

Meanwhile, across town from Dave and the MFRC meeting, community members braved the bitter cold and dark of an early January morning to learn about an innovative new family-scale opportunity to address the parcelization threat to forests in Itasca County. On behalf of her visionary Board of Directors, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation (GRACF) Executive Director Wendy Roy described GRACF’s new Itasca County Area Forest Legacy Fund.

Inspired by the Minnesota Forest Legacy Partnership, this new fund is GRACF Forest Legacy Fund designed as a tool to help family woodlot owners keep their private forestlands intact and build their own forest legacies for the future. The fund also will be used to raise awareness about the importance of forest stewardship. The GRACF will use the services of the Minnesota Land Trust to craft, monitor, and hold the easements in perpetuity. For more information, contact the fund at: info@gracf.org or 218/327-8855.