The Mississippi Valley Conservancy has purchased a wilderness tract about half the size of Hixon Forest near Boscobel for conservation and outdoor recreation.
The MVC used an $895,000 grant from the state Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund to fund the purchase of the 398-acre tract just east of the Grant County.
The second largest such grant in the MVC’s 16-year history, it was leveraged with credit for the donation of more than 1,000 acres along the Kickapoo River, which MVC secured from the Babson family.
The land, which includes wooded bluffs and valleys as well as some rare bluff prairies, will be protected from development but open for public uses, including hunting and trapping, hiking, birding and other outdoor recreation.
It provides habitat for rare and endangered species including hooded warblers, purple milkweed and wild petunia, said George Howe, conservation director for the MVC.
Howe said the land, purchased from the family of the late Dr. J.R. McNamee, may be used by local schools as well as the residents of Boscobel.
In the works for nearly four years, the project was delayed when Gov. Scott Walker temporarily halted spending from the Knowles-Nelson fund in 2011. Spending resumed, though funding for the program, established in 1989, was cut for the second consecutive two-year budget cycle.
Howe said the purchase fulfilled McNamee’s wishes to see the land preserved as wilderness.