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Hackmatack: A True Bi-State Refuge

April 11, 2013


On April 10, Ducks Unlimited closed on the second parcel of land—and the first in Wisconsin—for Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. This parcel of 85 acres will now be protected in perpetuity.

While the details are still being worked out, Openlands anticipates that Ducks Unlimited will eventually transfer the restored landscape to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or a local land trust for inclusion in Hackmatack. The property is the first such parcel for the refuge in Wisconsin and complements the acquisition Openlands orchestrated with multiple partners and government agencies on the Illinois side in November.

This step is significant for many reasons.

It establishes Hackmatack as truly a bi-state refuge. It also solidifies a great partnership for Openlands and the Friends of Hackmatack with the hunting community, building new partnerships for the protection of Hackmatack’s precious prairies and wetlands.

Openlands’ work is predicated on the importance of partnerships. In the last few months, Openlands, as part of the Friends of Hackmatack consortium, has partnered with Ducks Unlimited.  Openlands worked hand-in-hand with Ducks Unlimited on this acquisition and will continue to work closely with them.

Openlands is using this momentum to move forward some innovative land protection and acquisition strategies in Hackmatack. Eventually, Hackmatack will become a mosaic of protected lands providing habitat for grassland birds, recreation and education opportunities for people, and economic development for local communities in McHenry County, Illinois and Walworth County, Wisconsin.

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