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Special Places We've Protected

Many of the completed land protection projects of the Northern Waters Land Trust have returned private land to public ownership and use, protecting and preserving these special places from future development and insuring public use and enjoyment of the natural resources forever. Featured here are a few of these permanently preserved special places. 

Cedar Spring, Leech LakeCedar Spring Project

  • NWLT helped secure $500,000 from Congress to purchase the land; it is now owned by the US Forest Service.  
  • 146 acres; 6,600 shoreline feet.
  • Protected wetlands, spawning habitat, and rare sandy beach. 


Kabekona Aquatic Management Area (Hubbard County) Kabekona Project

  • 27 acres and 1,200 feet on Kabekona Lake.
  • 1,500 feet on Kabekona Creek. 
  • Purchased in 2006 in partnership with the Kabekona Lake. Association/Foundation and Trout Unlimited and gifted to the Minnesota DNR for perpetual management. 


Mule Lake Wildlife Management Area  Mule Lake Project

  • 363 acres, 15,400 feet of shoreline protected.
  • NWLT spearheaded a $2.4 million DNR acquisition, coordinating 22 partners to complete the project. This project was the single largest investment of “Reinvest in Minnesota” critical habitat license plate money. 
  • Now a DNR owned and managed Wildlife Management and Waterfowl Resting Area. 

Five Mile Point, Leech LakeFive Mile Point Project

  • 36 acres; 1,400 feet of shoreline protected, now a DNR Aquatic Management Area. 
  • Two projects in partnership with Muskies, Inc., the Leech Lake Association, and the Minnesota DNR, Division of Fisheries, to protect one of the seven known muskie spawning areas in Leech Lake.  Muskie fisherman contributed over $25,000 to the project along with $10,000 from the Hugh C. Becker Foundation. 

Lantern Bay, Woman Lake Lantern Bay Project

  • 75 acres; 5,000 feet of shoreland protected. 
  • Lantern Bay is a 120-acre shallow bay in Woman Lake critical for fish spawning, loon nesting, migratory waterfowl feeding, and food production for a variety of wildlife. When a development of 30 houses threatened serious consequences to the water quality and habitat in the bay as a result of land disturbance and increased boat activity, LLAWF and local partners initiated a five year project, involving four land acquisitions, to protect this entire bay.  LLAWF and the Child, Girl, Woman Lake Property Owners Association raised over $300,000 from individuals, foundations, and sporting organizations towards the final land purchases.  Most of the bay is now owned and managed by the DNR for the protection of its natural resources and recreational enjoyment of the public of Minnesota. 

Miller Bay, Leech Lake Miller Bay Project

NWLT and the DNR are currently working on multiple land acquisition projects in Miller Bay (aka Rogers Bay) to protect muskie spawning in Leech Lake. Miller Bay is the sole source of muskie eggs collected from Leech Lake and used to replenish the genetic stock of the Leech Lake strain of muskellunge for the DNR’s muskie stocking program.  Preventing future development and increased boat traffic in Miller Bay is critical to the future of muskie fishing in Minnesota.  

Conservation Easements  Conservation Easement Project

  • Through a partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust and Cass County Environmental Services, NWLT is engaged in an ongoing project to provide financial incentives to conservation-minded landowners who will donate a conservation easement to protect their sensitive shorelands in Cass, Crow Wing, and Aitkin counties. Funding to pay the landowner’s out-of-pocket costs to place a conservation easement on their property, including an appraisal to qualify for an IRS charitable deduction, is provided through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) or the Legacy Amendment's Outdoor Heritage Fund. Learn more about landowner resources and conservation easements. 
  • By June 30, 2014, nearly 10 miles of shoreland and 800 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat in North Central Minnesota lake country will be permanently protected by conservation easements. 

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