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Another wild swath of land was protected with funds from the 2008 Legacy Amendment recently, though you can't be blamed if you didn't hear about it.

The 440 acres in the new Lester Lake Scientific and Natural Area southeast of Bemidji contain unique remnants of the mixed hardwood and pine forest and forested swamps -- once a common ecosystem in Minnesota, but today nearly lost to development -- surrounding the undeveloped 70-acre Lester Lake.


Lester Lake

Lester Lake


This little bit of what Minnesota used to be is preserved and open to the public thanks to another grant from the Legacy Amendment, which paid for nearly all of the $1.45 million price tag, according to the Bemidji Pioneer.

It seems like every week there is a quiet announcement in an outstate paper about another project like Lester Lake being completed. The sheer number of Amendment-funded projects across the state makes it impossible to keep track of by the Minnesota taxpayers who are helping make these possible.

There's even an app for that

The DNR's popular magazine, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, has been around since 1940 but today is shedding some light on a few projects in an innovative way. The magazine announced this week that it has released an iPad app to accompany its feature story about four Amendment-funded projects.

With lots of photos by Richard Hamilton Smith, audio, and more, the app tries to bring people as close to the protected places as possible without putting on a pair of hiking boots. Highlighted lands include a trout stream, oak forests, and a lake full of Minnesota's state grain, wild rice.

(The magazine also recently made available online every single issue, thanks to, you guessed it, a Legacy Amendment grant.) 


Already a legacy to enjoy

Other folks have been getting people out from behind their computer screens to enjoy in-person the fruits of the Amendment.

The occasional Legacy Weekends which are organized in communities around the state give the people who paid for the projects a chance to enjoy places and events made possible by the Amendment. 

Bemidji hosted the most recent Legacy Weekend, which included book readings, writing workshops, musical theater, a kids' fishing day, archery lessons, and canoeing on the Mississippi River.

The Legacy Amendment might not have funded the iconic statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox which have greeted visitors to Bemidji for 75 years, but last weekend also marked the celebration of that anniversary.




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