Nearly 80 acres has been added to the Dalbo State Wildlife Management Area (WMA) through the hard work of several local organizations.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, a land dedication ceremony was held celebrating the addition of 80 acres to the Dalbo WMA. This was the first WMA acquisition using the Minnesota Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program in partnership with the Rum River Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA).
David Pauly, Cambridge Area Wildlife Supervisor, explained the Dalbo WMA now has over 3,200 acres for the public to enjoy. The 80 acres was added to the southwestern portion of the WMA that is located along Co. Rd. 16 in Dalbo Township. Approximately 120 acres located on the northern side of the Dalbo WMA is located in Kanabec County.
Pauly explained Jeff Olson with the Rum River Chapter initially inquired about the potential acquisition that took approximately three years to complete.
“There is nothing more exhilarating and gratifying than working on an acquisition project from start to finish, knowing that the Wildlife Management Area will be here for many generations to enjoy,” Pauly said. “This took us about three years to make happen, but now it’s here for everyone to enjoy and utilize. Working with different partnerships is a special part of being a wildlife management area manager. Without our partnerships, this would have been a difficult thing to do. This wildlife management area is used heavily across the entire region, as well as across the state of Minnesota.”
The Dalbo WMA is managed to provide habitat for hardwood forest species, brushland wildlife species, grassland species and wetland species.
The WMA consists of a diversity of upland/lowland forests, brushlands, grasslands and wetlands interspersed with croplands. There is also a 200-acre wild rice lake (Krone Lake ) within the unit boundaries.
Pauly explained there are good opportunities to view wildlife from roads in open areas and on the lake. The WMA is basically a roadless area with parking lots strategically placed on the north and south boundaries.
Hunting options include deer, bear, small game, forest game birds, pheasant, waterfowl, turkeys and wolves. Wildlife viewing options include wetland wildlife and forest wildlife.
“The Dalbo Wildlife Management Area is truly a diverse mix of habitat,” Pauly said. “This is truly an amazing site. This acquisition is the first of its kind using the Legacy funding. The funding is supposed to be used to preserve, protect and enhance, and an acquisition of this kind is an umbrella for all three of these.”
Kim Nelson, MDHA Programs Manager, explained the property purchase was $150,000, with a 10 percent match required. She explained the owners of the property, Linda and Keith Fluth, contributed $10,000, while the Rum River Chapter contributed $5,000.
“This really came about because of the Rum River Chapter’s ability to have successful fundraisers, and because of the generosity of the Fluth’s donation and their willingness to sell the property,” Nelson explained. “This is a great accomplishment and I would like to thank Dave Pauly and Jeff Olson for all the work you have done on this project.”
Pauly gave much credit to all the organizations involved with the acquisition.
“It’s amazing to see the interest generated by the group to preserve, protect and enhance outdoor lands,” Pauly said. “I would like to thank Jeff Olson for his willingness and energy to keep this moving forward. Without him assisting me, this would have never come to fruition. Conservation, partnership and legacy … Those three words are the epitome of what transpired on this project. This land is now public land to be used by the public to enjoy and recreate. This is really a win-win situation for everyone. I would also like to personally and professionally thank the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association for making this happen. Partnerships are a special part of who we are and how we operate.”
Jamie Gangaware, MN DNR Conservation Partners Legacy Grants Manager, explained the agency funded 35 grant applications out of 189 received.
“This project took a lot of people, pride and interest,” Gangaware said. “It’s unbelievable how much work the Rum River Chapter did to make this happen. The passion the chapter has is evident. It’s been very impressive working with this club.”
John Erlandson, Sr., president of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, said WMA’s are important.
“It’s so important to have places like this for the young coming up,” Erlandson, Sr. said. “I would like to thank all of you, and appreciate all of your efforts to make this happen. This is fantastic.”
Attached at the bottom of Pauly’s work email is a quote which he said fits in nicely with the land dedication celebration:
“We are not placed on this Earth to be curators of a museum … Instead, to be the stewards of a green and bountiful garden.”
Directions to the Dalbo Wildlife Management Area: From Dalbo, go 2 1/2 miles north on Hwy. 47, then 3 1/2 miles west on Co. Rd. 16.