Bayfield Regional Conservancy                    





September 24, 2020 (local release)

For more information contact Ruth Oppedahl 779-LAND (5263)


Millions of Acres Conserved By Voluntary Action;
Number of Nonprofit Land Trusts At New High

Land Trust Success Stories

Washington, D.C., Sept. 12 – The nation’s local and regional, private, nonprofit land trusts have conserved more than 6.4 million acres of open space as of Dec. 31, 2000, a 241 percent increase over the acreage protected as of 1990, creating an “everlasting legacy on the land,” according to Land Trust Alliance’s President Jean Hocker.

Reflecting the national trend, citizens in the Chequamegon Bay region have formed a land trust to preserve and protect natural areas in Bayfield, Ashland, Douglas and Sawyer Counties.  “The Bayfield Regional Conservancy is one of the hundreds of local land trusts that formed in the past decade in a response to the changing landscape” said Ruth Oppedahl, executive director for the new land trust which is based in Bayfield, WI. 

The National Land Trust Census, the nation’s only tabulation of the achievements of the voluntary land conservation movement, paints a portrait of a vibrant and effective movement, created by people concerned about the loss of open space in their communities.  Land Trust Alliance’s Census identified several milestones:

  • Local and regional land trusts have protected 6,479,674 acres of open space as of Dec. 31, 2000, an area twice the size of Connecticut.  That is a 241 percent increase over the 1.9 million acres protected as of 1990.  Although the National Land Trust Census tallies data only from local and regional land trusts, national land trusts have protected millions of acres as well.
  • A record 1,263 local and regional land trusts were in operation in 2000, a 42 percent increase over the number (887) that existed in 1990. (See Figure.)

    View more charts and graphs.
  • For the first time since 1891, when the first nonprofit land trust was founded in the United States, open space has been permanently protected in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico by nonprofit, grassroots land trusts.

“The Census portrays a growing movement that is fueled by people’s desire to save the open lands that make each community unique,” said Ms. Hocker, who has led LTA for 14 years.  “In nearly every corner of America, people can point proudly to land that is voluntarily conserved through a land trust – land that is important for its wildlife and natural resources values, for scenic and recreational values, for its value as productive farm, ranch and timberland and – most essentially – for its value to people’s lives.

“Local and regional land trusts are nonprofit organizations that people have formed, grown and supported in order to protect and give long-term stewardship to open space.

They represent people’s ambitions, hopes and dreams for their communities and generations yet to come,” noted Ms. Hocker

In northwestern Wisconsin, the Bayfield Regional Conservancy is currently working with private landowners on conservation easements that will permanently protect over 400 acres of land, including a wild lake, forests and wetlands.  Last year, the Conservancy assisted the Town of Bell in buying a stretch of Lake Superior shoreland in Siskiwit Bay for public access.


The Bayfield Regional Conservancy has an option to buy 40 acres shown above from the Peterson Family in Bayfield.  The land expands the flood protection for the City and provides scenic hiking and snowshowing trails for the public.


The land trust may also buy and hold land for natural areas.  In June, an option was signed to purchase 40 acres above Bayfield that expands the City of Bayfield’s flood protection and provides a number of trails that are used for hiking, snowshoeing and nature study. 

One of the first projects the group undertook was to secure easements along the Brownstone Trail, a public footpath that runs along Lake Superior from the City of Bayfield to the Port Superior Marina.  In addition, the Conservancy is assisting the Town of Bayfield’s Farmland Preservation Committee to save vital farmland and fruit-growing land around Bayfield. The Bayfield Regional Conservancy also supports the Living Forest Cooperative, a local initiative to encourage sustainable forest management on private lands.

Oppedahl says, “We are a conservation partner with private landowners, local governments and others who want to join in this fast-growing conservation movement.  We can make a difference in preserving natural areas, forests, farms and wild and scenic spaces in northwestern Wisconsin.”

To learn more about local conservation efforts, the public is invited to attend the annual meeting of the Bayfield Regional Conservancy on Saturday, September 29 at 9:00 a.m. at the Port Superior Marina meeting room.


For more information on the Bayfield Regional Conservancy call 715-779-LAND (5263) or