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Preservation dream fulfilled on Little Whitefish Lake

Bob Haddorff drives boat across Little Whitefish Lake.Submitted photo1 / 2
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DULUTH—Bob Haddorff developed a passion for wilderness and solitude after visiting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness during his youth.

As adults, Bob and his wife, Ginny sought to renew this passion. In 1998, they purchased a cabin on Little Whitefish Lake in Crow Wing County, since then acquired another 200 adjoining acres.

They learned from the DNR that their land contains "sensitive shoreline," which describes a unique and disappearing habitat that is crucial habitat for fish, wildlife, and native plants. They also learned that altering their shoreline, such as replacing the forest and native grasses with turf grass and riprap, would destroy that important habitat.

The Haddorffs realized that their land was significant. As they began seeing increasing development in the area, they decided they wanted to keep their land as natural as possible.

Fortunately, in 2014 the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation launched the Clean Water/Critical Habitat Protection Program in collaboration with the Minnesota Land Trust. The program focuses on the protection of forests located in the watersheds of tullibee refuge lakes in north central Minnesota.

The Haddorffs found that their land was a perfect match, and now their property along with 2.5 miles of shoreline on Little Whitefish Lake is protected forever.

"This project conserves important shoreline and 216 acres of upland forest on a tullibee refuge lake," noted Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation Executive Director Lindsay Ketchel.

Researchers found that if up to 75 percent of a lake's forested watershed is protected, the lake's water temperature can be maintained.

Minnesota Land Trust Program Manager, Pat Collins noted, "Tullibee need year-round cold water. This lake already had other land protection in the watershed so this private land conservation filled in an important missing piece of the protection puzzle."

And so, Bob's dream of wilderness and solitude will continue on for future generations.

This permanent conservation easement was made possible thanks to Bob and Ginny Haddorff and funding provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund via the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation and in partnership with the members of the Minnesota Land Trust.

The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation is a regional 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to preserving and protecting the quality of the pristine lakes, rivers and streams; healthy forests; and critical fish and wildlife habitats of the Leech Lake Watershed and surrounding counties in North Central Minnesota. Established in 1992, the LLAWF has protected over 22 miles of shoreland and more than 2,200 acres of land. These completed projects have returned land to public ownership and use and placed conservation easements on private lands by conservation-minded landowners.

The Minnesota Land Trust is a membership-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to protect and restore Minnesota's most vital natural lands in order to provide wildlife habitat, clean water, outdoor experiences and scenic beauty for generations to come. The organization has completed 514 conservation projects statewide, permanently protecting nearly 50,000 acres of natural and scenic land and over a million feet of fragile shoreline.

A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or other qualified agency that permanently limits certain uses of land in order to protect its conservation values. Landowners continue to own and enjoy the land and pay property taxes. Once created, the conservation easement is binding on all future owners of the property. More information can be found at