A former Boy Scout camp in Douglas County will remain a wilderness haven forever through a conservation easement with Landmark Conservancy.

The 160-acre Camp Newman property in the town of Oakland was initially established as a summer camp for scouts. The parcel of land completely surrounds 12-acre Newman Lake and includes a four-bedroom log home built in 1980. Although the site hadn’t been used for camping for at least 25 years, local troops continued to use the site for weekend camping into October 2019, when the property was sold.

Voyageurs Area Council chief executive officer Michael Jenkins declined to name the seller, but Landmark Conservancy has. In a news release in early January, the nonprofit revealed that the Camp Newman property had been purchased by Gail Baldwin and Bruce Jessen, who own a neighboring 80-acre property on the headwaters of the Amnicon River that includes One Buck Lake.

The couple placed their One Buck Lake land in a conservation easement with Landmark Conservancy (formerly West Wisconsin Land Trust) in 2007.

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“When we found out it was possible to conserve this area forever in its wild state, we couldn’t do it quite fast enough,” Baldwin said.

Upon purchasing the Camp Newman land, they amended the easement to encompass the entire area. The resulting 240-acre conservation easement protects the land from future development or subdivision, keeping the habitat intact to support optimal biodiversity, safeguarding the woodlands and maintaining high-quality water resources downstream. The property will remain largely free from human disturbance allowing natural processes to shape the future forest community.

“We’re so grateful for Gail Baldwin and Bruce Jessen’s commitment to conserving special land in northwest Wisconsin,” said Lindsey Ketchel, executive director of Landmark Conservancy. “Our ability to complete projects like One Buck really hinges on landowners’ willingness to protect important land — not just during their lifetime, but forever.”