Only four miles from town, 700 acres of hunting, wildlife viewing
by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
A 202-acre addition to the 527-acre Ereaux State Wildlife Management Area (WMA) just four miles northeast of Little Falls will be dedicated in a ceremony Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m.
The addition to the WMA includes land from the John LeBlanc and Mark Fussy families.
“Mr. Fussy came to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Pheasants Forever in early spring 2012, to see if we were interested in buying the land,” said Eran Sandquist of Pheasants Forever. “We closed on it in late 2012.”
The DNR and Pheasants Forever collaborate on land acquisition if the land meets requirements to made a good addition, Sandquist said.
The considerations include whether or not there are native grasslands or existing wetlands to protect and whether the land will provide additional recreation for such things as hunting and bird watching.
The groups must also consider whether the land offered is in a strategic place near existing public areas, and whether there might be additional management or trespass issues.
Pheasants Forever purchased the land and initiated the process to donate it to the DNR.
“Pheasants Forever applied for a grant from Legacy funds,” Sandquist said. “We had to raise a matching percentage. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association helped raise funds for the local match.”
Pheasants Forever receives millions of dollars in funding each year to purchase acreage, he said. The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council oversees the spending of the fish and wildlife portion of the Legacy Amendment dollars.
Legacy funding received totalled $345,000 and the local match was $20,000.
“It’s not often we can create a 700-acre public hunting area this close to a population center,” Sandquist said. “The addition’s nearness to an existing unit and the sheer size of it makes it unique.”
The additional land has already been open to the public.
Tours will be available following the dedication ceremony. Cake and coffee will be provided by Morrison County Pheasants Forever.
From Little Falls, take Highway 27 east. Turn left immediately after the Falls Ballroom, on Hawthorne Road. Follow Hawthorne for 2.4 miles and the wildlife management area will be on the left.
For more information, call (763) 242-1273.