Trust, couple preserve historic camping site
Linn and Ann Duesterbeck of Milton worked with the Land Trust Network of Jefferson County to preserve 65 acres of wetlands and uplands on the southeast side of Lake Koshkonong.
With the help of the trust, the Duesterbecks have placed the property, which includes a mile of shoreline, in a permanent conservation easement.
“It’s a wonderful gift to nature,” trust Chairwoman Martine Koeppel said. “You’re going to see wildlife, native vegetation and osprey. You will see the property how it has always been.”
A conservation easement is attached permanently to the property and will transfer to the next owner if the property is sold, even if it’s sold in small pieces.
Landowners who want to create a conservation easement hire an attorney to draft legal documents, Koeppel said. The trust reviews the paperwork to make sure the property is right for a conservation easement.
The trust then monitors the easements for compliance.
“As long as basic things are mentioned, we’ll accept it,” Koeppel said. “No development, no surface destruction … as long as the dirt stays intact, those are the two things our trust looks for when accepting an easement.”
The property contains many Indian artifacts, Linn Duesterbeck wrote in a news release, along with the camping detail on Chief Black Hawk.
About 75 percent of the property is wetlands and the rest uplands. The uplands have been planted to prairie grass as habitat for birds and wildlife. The Duesterbeck family has worked to restore portions of the wetlands over 32 years, according to the news release.
The wetlands are home to many bird species and spawning grounds for many native fish and reptiles.
“Now there are places in the world that will remain in their natural state forever, and hopefully both wildlife and man will greatly benefit,” Duesterbeck wrote. “Linn and Ann strongly urge others to consider placing similar easements on their property to similarly protect their properties from future development.”
The trust is willing to help landowners protect undeveloped property anywhere in Wisconsin, Koeppel said. To date, the trust has completed 15 land preservation projects, resulting in the protection of more than 1,400 acres.
“We do not nit pick,” she said. “We will protect anything. We don’t care where it’s located … If you want to protect your land and it’s currently not developed, we will help you.”
TO LEARN MORE
The Land Trust Network of Jefferson County will help landowners anywhere in Wisconsin protect their property from development.
To learn more about easements, visit www.landtrustnetwork.org or contact the trust at LTN, P.O. Box 142, Watertown, WI 53094.