Minnesota's newest national wildlife refuge will more than double in size thanks to a 3,500 acre donation from the Nature Conservancy.
Glacial Ridge refuge in northwestern Minnesota was created in 2004. The Nature Conservancy plans to restore thousands of acres of native prairie and wetlands and donate the land to the refuge.
Refuge Manager Dave Bennett said he will now start developing a management plan. Despite its remote location, he said there will be a focus on encouraging people to use the refuge.
"We don't want the refuge just to be a blank spot on earth that has some habitat to it. We want people to enjoy this place, understand it and realize it's important for us to preserve and maintain these areas," Bennet said.
Glacial Ridge is one of the largest prairie restoration projects in the country. When completed it is expected to encompass more than 30,000 acres of prairie and wetlands.