West Bend, WI: On Thursday, February 21st, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) officially finalized the acquisition of the remaining portion of 104 total acres of land that was lovingly stewarded by members Dave and Karen Kinnamon for nearly 50 years.
Combined with the organization’s 2017 acquisition of 60-acres owned by Ed and Janet Beimborn, and a contiguous 110-acre privately owned property on which it already held a conservation easement, OWLT now protects 274-acres of significant habitat and scenic beauty in its defined Cedar-Sauk project area.
“We are excited to add this to the growing list of now 32 nature preserves under the stewardship of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust,” said Tom Stolp, Executive Director. “Beyond our commitment to caring for these ecologically significant places forever, we are also committed to keeping this land 100% free and open to the public for recreation and renewal.”
Dave and his wife, Karen, bought the land back in the early 1970s, and invested a significant amount of time and financial resources to transform it into the special place it is today. After restoring many acres into high quality prairie and keeping the property clean of many invasive plants, the Kinnamons began planning forward in the late 1990s for eventual sale of the land to OWLT so it could be protected and preserved.
“One of our primary considerations in partnering with the Land Trust was that this property, which has remained undisturbed during our 47 years of ownership, will be carefully tended by talented and dedicated stewards,” said Dave. “In fact, the OWLT Team is already hard at work with invasive removal, and that is the kind of hands-on care we are elated and grateful to have.”
The Kinnamon property features a spring fed pond that has served as a fish hatchery for many native fish species and a wetland habitat that provides refuge to many migratory warblers. A vast array of tree species also call this land home, with beech, white birch, yellow birch, cedar, shag bark hickory, and tamarack among them.
The acquisition of this property was made possible with support from Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Greenseams Program, and the Wisconsin DNR’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Additionally, many individual members and foundation supporters made critical investments in the acquisition through OWLT’s “Great Rivers, Great Lakes Campaign,” a multi-year effort focused upon land and water resource conservation. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Fund for Lake Michigan, Nast Family Foundation, Brookby Foundation, and James E. Dutton Foundation provided extraordinary leadership-level gifts to help make this once-in-a-generation land protection opportunity possible.