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Tuesday, 07 April 2020 00:00

Pheasants Forever and Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society Lead 955-Acre WMA Addition with Outdoor Heritage Funding

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With critical support from Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, a large group of partners led by Pheasants Forever and Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society are thrilled to announce the acquisition of 955 acres to be opened as public land. The Cupido Wildlife Management Area (WMA) addition features native prairie, one of the rarest ecosystems on the planet, and adds to a sprawling public lands complex now totaling more than 5,450 acres. The name “Cupido” references the greater prairie chicken’s Latin name – Tympanuchus cupido – as this property is located within some of the best remaining habitat for the bird in Minnesota’s northwest corner.

Through a $1.8 million grant from Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, Pheasants Forever and Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society came together as partners to lead this critically important project. The acquisition was also bolstered by a contribution from Purina last October and Pheasants Forever’s Give to the Max fundraiser last November.

The Cupido WMA addition was finalized utilizing Pheasants Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area campaign as part of the Public Lands Pavilion at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2020. During the February event in Minneapolis, participating exhibitors made a donation of 10% of their net proceeds from the weekend to this unique funding mechanism for public lands, helping Pheasants Forever and the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society cap off the land project totaling more than $2 million.

“As Minnesotans, we should be proud of how the Legacy Amendment is resulting in on-the-ground habitat through the collaboration of partners as evidenced during this year’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic. And at Pheasants Forever, we’re stretching every tax-payer’s dollar further. I’m incredibly proud of that fact and the shared vision from so many groups,” stated Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s vice president of marketing & communications and the spark behind the concept of the Public Lands Pavilion.

“This project is a true gem. For this property to be permanently protected and opened to the public in some of the last remaining quality habitat for prairie chickens is incredibly exciting,” explained Brian Winter, Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society’s president. “We’re thrilled to be one of the leaders in a group of collaborators this large to help protect critical habitat for this treasured bird. It also speaks to the fact that Pheasants Forever is truly who they say they are – The Habitat Organization – whose projects and influence go well beyond the bird that their logo represents.”  

Adjoining Twin Valley WMA, Neal WMA, Syre WMA and Twin Valley Prairie Scientific and Natural Area, the Cupido WMA addition includes 300 acres of native prairie. The remaining acreage of the tract consists of hay land and crop ground that will be converted back to grassland. “We plan to do some conservation grazing, when the time is right, for long-term grassland management that will benefit prairie chicken populations,” says Eran Sandquist, Minnesota state coordinator for Pheasants Forever. “We anticipate restorable wetlands totaling approximately 60 acres that will be called home by a large selection of waterfowl and wetland species. Thank you to our partners at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources who will be accepting this property as a donation and managing it in perpetuity for diverse wildlife resources.”

“Good news can seem in short supply right now, so the addition of these valuable acres of wildlife habitat to the Cupido Wildlife Management Area – something from which sportsmen and women as well as wildlife populations stand to gain – couldn’t come at a better time,” explained Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “We are excited not only about this addition but also for the opportunity to create additional public lands in Minnesota and beyond. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been honored to work alongside our allies at Pheasants Forever toward this momentous achievement. We look forward to building on this momentum and continuing to collaborate in the name of conservation, public access and our outdoor legacy.”

The Cupido WMA Addition can be found five miles southwest of Twin Valley, Minnesota. Contributors to the acquisition through the Public Lands Pavilion at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic include:

  • Randy Newberg
  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • The Ruffed Grouse Society
  • Duluth Pack
  • Filson
  • Hunt 2 Eat
  • Modern Carnivore
  • Project Upland
  • Sage & Braker
  • Sam Soholt/Public Land Tees
  • Sight Line Provisions
  • Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters

Additionally, this acquisition has been supported financially by:

  • Outdoor Heritage Fund through Legacy Amendment
  • Pheasants Forever
  • Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society
  • Purina
  • Longspur Prairie Fund
  • Minnesota Sharp- tailed Grouse Society
  • Joseph Prosby III

About Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 138,000 members and 760 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent over $900 million on 550,000 habitat projects benefiting 19 million acres nationwide.

Media Contact
Jared Wiklund
(651) 209-4953
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