Sunburg, Minn. – July 25, 2011 – Pheasants Forever and partners have added a 185 acre parcel of quality wildlife habitat to the Randall Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) near Sunburg, Minnesota. The Johnson/Foley Memorial Build a Wildlife Area project adds acres that will be open to public hunting and recreation. Funding for the project was also made possible by grants recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
Located just north of Sunburg, the addition is named in honor of Randall “Randy” Johnson and his brother in-law and friend, Kevin Foley, who spent their lives appreciating Minnesota wildlife. Dan Richmond, friend and president of the Mississippi Longtails Pheasants Forever chapter, noted that “Both Kevin and Randy lived and breathed the outdoors, often organizing outings for friends and family alike.” After passing less than two years apart, Kevin and Randy’s large extended family, along with the Mississippi Longtails Pheasants Forever chapter, decided to raise necessary funds for the Build a Wildlife Area project, ensuring future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as Randy and Kevin.
Consisting of rolling glacial cut hills, native oak woodlands and savanna, restored wetlands and some of the last remaining native prairie in the state, one “doesn’t have to look far to find something special on this property, ” Scott Glup of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, stated at the dedication ceremony. The property borders and will be included in the larger 1,000-plus acre Randall WPA, operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Targeted conservation management practices have already begun to enhance the property, including removal of invasive tree species, in order to provide a more suitable and native habitat for area wildlife, such as deer, turkey, pheasant and waterfowl.
“The land covers 185 acres, and it will be here in perpetuity, protecting the wildlife, the habitat, and providing a place for outdoor enthusiasts to go, now and forever,” said Joe Duggan, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Corporate Relations “We want to thank everyone who made this possible. As time goes by, if we don’t make efforts to protect unique areas like this, there will be fewer and fewer places for people to enjoy. With support from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and partners, Minnesotans will collectively have a legacy pass on to their children. And a special thanks to Dennis Leaf, former property owner, whose patience and consideration made the acquisition and conservation legacy possible.”
Developed by Pheasants Forever, the Anoka County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Game Fair, and Outdoor News in 2003, the Build a Wildlife Area program utilizes a unique funding mechanism in which every donation has been tripled through matching grants from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition to individual and memorial donations, Apple Auto Group and Federal Premium Ammunition made significant contributions to this year’s campaign.
The Randall Johnson & Kevin Foley Memorial Project marks the 11th Build a Wildlife Area project in Minnesota. Since 2003, the campaign has helped protect more than 3,300 acres of habitat. For more information on this project, please contact Matt Holland at 320-354-4377 / Email Matt
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent – the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.