The Trust for Public Land announced Friday, March 1, the addition of 170 acres to the Savanna State Forest, including 1.25 miles of undeveloped frontage along the Mississippi River.

This land in northeastern Aitkin County, now managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, will provide access to hunting, fishing, hiking and canoeing while also preserving local forest management. The property is in the headwaters of the Mississippi River and helps to maintain connectivity to adjacent public lands and protect drinking water for 18 million people.

"This acquisition is representative of the great work The Trust for Public Land is doing in the headwaters of our nation's largest river," said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota and Northwoods program director for The Trust for Public Land, in a news release. "By working closely with local partners, we're able to protect land that not only provides unique recreation opportunities for Minnesotans, but also protects habitat for wildlife and an invaluable source of drinking water."

In coming months, a kiosk and parking area will be set up at the northern edge of the property, allowing visitors to make a stop while road-tripping on the Great River Road.

"The Minnesota Great River Road is all about authentic river experiences and this new acquisition provides wonderful opportunities for travelers and residents alike," said Megan Christianson, who represents the Grand Rapids to Brainerd Region of the Great River Road.

"We thank the Trust for Public Land and their partners including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, a Minnesota Mississippi River Parkway Commission member agency, for their vision and important work."

The acquisition was completed as part of the Mississippi Headwaters Habitat Corridor Project, a partnership between The Trust for Public Land, the Mississippi Headwaters Board and the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources.

The Trust for Public Land acquires and protects land, the Mississippi Headwaters Board coordinates the project, and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources in coordination with eight headwaters soil and water conservation districts, acquires conservation easements.

Funding for this project was provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota Legislature.