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The easement just completed is on one of six parcels totaling 725 acres owned by the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary and the Blacklock family that are located within about a mile of one another. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Land Trust)

Blacklock land in Carlton County protected

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news Cloquet, 55720
Cloquet Minnesota 122 Avenue C 55720

More than 150 acres owned by nature photographer Craig Blacklock in Carlton County will be permanently protected from development through conservation easements announced today.

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The 157-acre parcel that includes rolling hills, hardwood and pine forest, wetlands and grasslands provide habitat for a variety of wildlife and plants, including bald eagles, sandhill cranes, wood turtles and sharp-tailed sparrows. Undisturbed wetlands help maintain the water quality of the Kettle River watershed and provide habitat for a variety of aquatic plants, animals and natural communities.

The deal was announced by the Minnesota Land Trust. Funding came from the Minnesota's Outdoor Heritage Fund, specifically the Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program aimed at funding permanent conservation easements protecting habitat for fish, game and wildlife.

The easement just completed is on one of six parcels totaling 725 acres owned by the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary and the Blacklock family that are located within about a mile of one another. It's part of a larger forested complex of several thousand acres of protected forestland and other habitat areas, including Moose Lake State Park.

All six parcels are expected to be protected by easements. While Blacklock is considering selling at least some of the parcels, the easements will transfer to the new owners to keep the land in its natural state.

"We are thankful the Minnesota Land Trust was able to find the funding to be able to turn a real quandary into a permanent solution that protects the land from development," Blacklock said in a statement announcing the easement deal.

It's the second time that Blacklock land has been protected by easements. In 2011, a parcel adjacent to Split Rock Light House on Lake Superior's North Shore thanks to funding through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. That property includes portions of the Superior Hiking Trail and the Gitchi-Gami Bike Trail. A Lake Superior Water Trail public access canoe and kayak campsite also is protected by this easement.

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