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Family decision preserves Brule River land

Wendy Wells and her family recently placed a conservation easement on their Douglas County property along the Brule River. The site is a designated Land Legacy Place due to its conservation significance and recreation potential.

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This piece of land along the Brule River in Douglas County will be preserved through the Wisconsin Landmark Conservancy to honor the Wells family. (Submitted photo)

Wendy Wells and her family recently placed a conservation easement on their Douglas County property along the Brule River. The site is a designated Land Legacy Place due to its conservation significance and recreation potential.

"My family purchased this land along the Brule in the early 1960s," Wells said. "Throughout my childhood, my family and friends camped, canoed, snowshoed and fished there. I have wonderful memories of times spent with four generations of family members."

Land trusts like Wisconsin's Landmark Conservancy use conservation easements as a tool for permanent land protection. Jane Anklam, a manager with the nonprofit conservancy, guided the Wells family through the process.

"Ms. Wells was very clear about her wishes to conserve this property as an honor to her family and the river," Anklam said. "She wanted others to have the opportunity to know this special place in the Northwoods."

The easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that limits uses of the land in order to protect its natural resource values. Landowners retain their rights to own, use, sell and bequeath the property.

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"My cousin on the St. Croix River introduced me to the idea of a conservation easement," Wells said. "I discussed the option with my kids and they were all in favor of it."

Anklam said it was particularly rewarding to conserve a property like this 34-acre parcel, which has a greater impact because it helps connect habitat and river corridors.

The Brule River flows 44 miles from its source at the Continental Divide to its mouth on the shore of Lake Superior. The Wells' conservation easement aligns with the locally-developed watershed plan for this middle area of the river and supports migratory bird stopover habitat and coastal fishery spawning needs.

Landmark Conservancy is a nonprofit organization serving 20 counties across western Wisconsin. The conservancy works with private landowners who wish to conserve their land in perpetuity, and also with local municipalities, state and federal entities to create public preserves for all to enjoy.

Related Topics: DOUGLAS COUNTY
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