The Department of Natural Resources and the Nature Conservancy announced the expansion of Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in southeastern Minnesota.
The DNR has worked with the Nature Conservancy and the landowner for five years to acquire a 454-acre property.
The land purchase is unique because it includes limestone cliffs, two miles of trout streams and a variety of rare and threatened species, said Rich Biske, a conservation coordinator for the Nature Conservancy in southeastern Minnesota.
"The first thing you see on the southern portion of the property is just this very dramatic vertical cliff that the south branch of the root river runs along the base of," Biske said. "And this cliff goes on for several hundred feet."
Not only does the acquisition protect a very unique natural resource, it also make the area it accessible to more people. The property features segments of two trout streams: Forestville Creek and the South Branch of the Root River. It also includes a variety of habitats, including white pine forest, seepage meadow and oak forest.
The DNR paid almost $1.8 million for the property. Funding came from the Reinvest in Minnesota program, which uses money from the sale of critical habitat license plates to protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat.