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Dunn County supports West Wisconsin Land Trust in purchase of 562 acres

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE —  If the West Wisconsin Land Trust receives a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to purchase 562 acres in the Town of Peru, the public will have access to more than 1,500 acres of publicly-owned land.

The Dunn County Board approved a resolution at the November 14 meeting in support of the West Wisconsin Land Trust’s application for a DNR grant from the Warren Knowles – Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Program to purchase the property.

Since the early 1970s, Northern States Power, formerly known as NSP and now known as Xcel Energy, has owned thousands of acres along the Lower Chippewa River in the Town of Peru in southern Dunn County.

The area has historically been known as the Tyrone property, and the DNR has recently purchased 990 acres of the property to protect and preserve it for public use, such as fishing, hunting, wildlife watching and hiking.

Northern States Power/Xcel Energy had initially proposed building a nuclear power plant on the site.

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin denied NSP’s application early in 1979. After that, NSP considered building a coal-powered plant on the Tyrone property. In 1982, NSP returned land to the Bauer family which had been acquired through condemnation proceedings.

According to the resolution, the DNR has tentatively awarded grant funds to the West Wisconsin Land Trust from the Warren Knowles – Gaylord Nelson Steward Program to acquire the 562 acres adjacent to the DNR’s recently purchased 990 acres.

The West Wisconsin Land Trust intends to hold the land for conservation and public recreational use.

The resolution approved by the county board supports the West Wisconsin Land Trust in purchasing the property and also encourages the DNR to award the grant funds.