Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

March 22, 2004

Wright County Pheasants Forever donates land to DNR

From the DNR

Thanks to a land donation from Wright County Pheasants Forever, a large wetland south of Annandale will once again support critical habitat for waterfowl, pheasants and numerous species of wildlife.

The group purchased and donated a 25-acre parcel that will put Henry Lake, a 60-acre wetland that was drained in the 1930s, completely under public ownership.

The wetland, which is part of the 553-acre Albion Wildlife Management Area, can now be allowed to flood to a depth of two to three feet.

“Wright County Pheasants Forever has long been a great supporter of wildlife habitat,” said Fred Bengtson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) area wildlife manager. “This is another example of their strong commitment to conservation and outdoor heritage.”

Ducks Unlimited and the DNR Section of Wildlife constructed a water control structure that will re-flood and restore Henry Lake this spring.

Aside from waterfowl habitat, the parcel will also provide better winter cover for pheasants, deer, furbearers and others.

Another important benefit will be flood control and water quality improvement for downstream residents including those on French Lake, southwest of Annandale.

Wright County Pheasants Forever received matching funds for the land purchase from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (Habitat Corridors Partnership) and through the North American Wetland Conservation Act.

“The Wright County Pheasants Forever Board of Directors are a bunch of guys who love the outdoors and believe in conservation,” said Bob Peterson, chapter president. “We are very lucky to have members that agree with this way of thinking. We want to help guarantee there will be wild places for future generations to enjoy. Our partnership with natural resource agencies, businesses, individuals and other conservation groups help make places like Albion Wildlife Management Area a reality for everyone.”

Albion Wildlife Management Area is located three miles south of Annandale off Wright County Road 5. April and May offer excellent viewing for returning migrant wildlife species.

Wright County Pheasants Forever will host its 19th annual fund-raising banquet at the Buffalo Civic Center April 5 at 5 p.m.

For tickets, contact Bob Peterson at (320) 963-6581.

Question of the Week

From the DNR

Q: There have been changes to the reservation system for camping in Minnesota State Parks.

What is it campers need to know when making their reservations?

A: Minnesota State Park customers now are able to reserve group camps and campsites in horse campgrounds by phone or online in addition to regular camping and lodging accommodations.

Group camp reservations can be made from three days up to a year in advance for locations in 51 state parks.

Horse campground sites, which are located in eight state parks, can be reserved from three to 90 days in advance.

All reservations will be charged a non-refundable reservation fee of $8.50 in addition to the first night’s camping fee.

For complete reservation information, contact the DNR Information Center for a free brochure or check the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Outdoor notes

• The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will host their annual Hog Roast Saturday, April 3 at the Winsted American Legion Club, serving from 5 to 8 p.m.

Tickets are $7 in advance and $7.50 at the door, available at Keg’s, Tom’s Corner Bar, Winsted Co-op and from club members.

• The Prairie Archery Club will host a grilled pork chop dinner Saturday, April 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Porthole in Lester Prairie.

Tickets are $6.50 for adults and $4.50 for kids under 12.

• The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club recently finalized plans to upgrade and remodel the exterior of it’s clubhouse. Work on the project will begin in April.

• Ice out has started. Several lakes in our area now have a narrow ring of open water along the shoreline. If the weather remains warm and high winds continue ice out could happen early this year.

• Pheasants and other wildlife seem to have made it through the winter in excellent shape. Several readers indicated to me that they have seen more pheasants lately than compared to other years.

• Spring officially started Saturday, March 20.

• Look for wood ducks, in good numbers, to arrive in our area this week, and in the next few weeks.

If you built a few wood duck houses this winter, now is the time to get them out.

• The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club recently completed it’s annual lake clean up project.

Club members noted anglers left the lakes in excellent condition this year and did a much better job of picking up their garbage then in years past.

• The 2004 Minnesota fishing opener is set for Saturday, May 15.

• Take some time to get outside and watch spring happen.

To make spring even more interesting, pick a specific tree, plant, or part of the landscape and take the time to look at it every day and note the changes.

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