347 acres along the Mississippi River in Elk River are protected!

The Mississippi River flows by the Houlton Farm in Elk River.

Photo: Whitney Clark, FMR

The Houlton Farm, a 347-acre property located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Elk rivers in Sherburne County, was one of the largest undeveloped family owned riverfront properties between Elk River and Hastings. In December, the Trust for Public Land, with funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund as recommended by the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, purchased the property and transferred the ownership to the city of Elk River. Friends of the Mississippi River has been working with the city for a couple of years on fashioning a strategy to protect and restore this property into high quality wildlife habitat. Joe Walton, FMRs restoration ecologist summed up FMRs perspective on the project recently stating, The ecological significance of this project can hardly be overstated. The opportunity to protect and restore a parcel of this size, along the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities, is very uncommon. Were excited to begin the work of restoring native plant communities on the site.

Elk Rivers Star News provides more details on this significant land acquisition and restoration project.

This year, with an Outdoor Heritage Fund grant and funding from the city of Elk River, FMR will develop a Natural Resource Management Plan for the property and for the Bailey Point Nature Preserve located adjacent to the Houlton property. Once this is completed, FMR will begin to implement the plan. FMR would like to thank the Trust for Public Land, the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, and the city of Elk River for making this important project happen. The Mississippi River is healthier because of their efforts to complete this project.