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National Loon Center acquires land in Fifty Lakes

The land was acquired as a part of the center's loon habitat preservation project

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The Fifty Lakes land acquired by the National Loon Center will help the center's effort to protect critical loon nesting habitat. Contributed

The National Loon Center in Crosslake has acquired approximately six acres of land, with more than 2,500 feet of shoreline, in Fifty Lakes to protect critical loon nesting habitat.

With this purchase, relatively undisturbed aquatic and riparian habitat that supports nesting loons and a whole host of other wildlife will be protected. The land itself is home to many species of native trees and wildflowers, all essential to a healthy ecosystem.

Funding for this project was provided from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, meant to restore, protect and enhance Minnesota’s wetlands, prairies, forests and habitat for fish, game and wildlife.

The National Loon Center’s vision is to be a leader in loon preservation and freshwater conservation. This purchase is one large step toward this goal.

The lakes that are protected in part by the acquired land are among the most significant loon nesting areas in the region, with at least seven pairs of loons occupying the lakes. Two of those pairs nest in the bays directly along the center’s land purchase.

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Loons are very territorial and pairs must find a territory either by evicting another loon pair or finding a new area on a vacant lake. A young loon can spend more than two years searching for a territory. These territories are where the loons will raise their young and are usually in shallow, open water with plenty of small fish.

It is this type of education about loon behavior that the National Loon Center seeks to provide via its upcoming facility, slated to open to the public in the spring of 2024. The facility will be an “interactive and family-friendly educational destination” for visitors eager to learn about loons and freshwater ecosystems. With the addition of this land comes the opportunity for more expansive education and conservation initiatives.

To stay informed on the National Loon Center’s progress, visit www.nationallooncenter.org.

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