Archived Story

Freeborn County has new DNR wildlife area

Published 9:05am Tuesday, May 21, 2013

NEWRY TOWNSHIP — The public is invited to the dedication of a new wildlife management area in Freeborn County that will conserve 500 acres of gently rolling hills, containing 100 acres of wetlands, remnant prairie and remnant bur oak woodland.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. June 6, off of Freeborn County Road 35, inside the north entrance of the new wildlife management area at 87911 320th St., 17 miles northeast of Albert Lea.

It is southwest of Blooming Prairie in Newry Township.

“This new WMA is large enough to provide significant opportunities for public hunting, hiking and wildlife watching in southeastern Minnesota,” said Ed Boggess, director of the state Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Division, in a news release. “Its natural resource value is evident by trumpeter swans that use the wetlands as well as bald eagles and sandhill cranes regularly seen in the area.”

The land will be named the Wo Wacintanka Wildlife Management Area and will be managed to conserve wildlife, habitat and provide hunting, hiking and wildlife watching, the release stated. The land is now open for public use subject to rules, but all borders may not yet be posted.

John C. Goetz of the Minneapolis law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben donated the land, valued at $664,000.

According to the DNR, the gift marks one of the largest individual donations the DNR ever has received. It also is the first land donation to include a clause on the deed prohibiting the sale, transfer or conveyance of the donated property without the prior written approval of the donor or his heirs, executors, administrators or assignees.

An equal, matching amount from the state’s Reinvest In Minnesota program, which is funded by the sales of critical habitat license plates, will be used to acquire or develop other habitat elsewhere in Minnesota.

The following are directions to the wildlife management area from Albert Lea: Go north on Interstate 35 to Geneva exit (Exit 22 and Freeborn County Road 35) and take exit, turn east on County 35 and go about nine miles, or to a point 0.9 miles east of intersection with north Freeborn County 34. The north entrance, an old farm driveway, of the Wo Wacintanka Wildlife Management Area will be on the south side of County 35.