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Protection of Wisconsin Wildlife Habitat Springs from Lifelong Love of Nature

"We've always had a love affair with nature and critters and a simple life," says Harold Lindebo. Together with his wife Gail, he sought permanent protection for their two Wisconsin properties -- 597 acres in Shanagolden, and 80 acres in Chimney Rock. Having lived rurally on other properties for nearly 50 years, the Lindebos became proficient at gardening, canning, and repairing their own cars, heating, and plumbing. To build the 14’ x 14’ cabin on their Shanagolden property, they even cut the trees for the beams.

Living simply strengthened their connection with the land and wildlife and made them want to prevent exploitation of either in the future on their two properties. “The Wildlife Land Trust was a perfect match for us. I want the land to be left alone to do its thing,” says Harold, noting that other trusts would not preclude timbering and hunting. “The land is doing a lot for the earth and its creatures—bears, wolves, coyotes, fishers, pine martins, bobcats, porcupines, and many others—and we want to help other species survive.”

“We like the quiet, the trees, the birds and other critters,” he reflects, “It’s wonderful.” Land to the west and north is designated as national forest, and thus protected. Sadly, though, many private landowners in the area have felt compelled to lease their land for recreational trophy hunting in order to meet ever-increasing property taxes. As in many places, sand mining for hydro-fracking is destroying natural habitat. These losses of local habitat make the Lindebos’ protection of their wilderness properties an invaluable safety net for wildlife.

Owls in the area—saw-whet, screech, great horned, and barred—are very vocal, while countless ducks and geese gather near the river and flocks of warblers, robins, waxwings, and other migratory birds add still more bird-watching opportunities. The Lindebos also encounter snowshoe hares and other small mammals, as well as black bears—who never are a problem for them, and occasional wolves. Sport hunting on neighboring properties causes deer to seek refuge on the Lindebos’ land, including one particular deer, who they came to recognize because of a white spot on its back and because she has been coming by for four years.

“There is definitely more wildlife on our Chimney Rock property during the hunting season,” says Harold, “so I really like the idea of permanently protecting our land as a wildlife sanctuary. We love the land and want to be a part of it as long as we can.”

Acknowledging that as individuals they cannot do everything needed to save wildlife, Harold observes that the Wildlife Land Trust enables individual landowners to do what they can do. “We couldn’t be happier with how protecting our land has transpired,” he says, “because it is definitely necessary, and it buys the wildlife time.”

Owls Close-up

You can help owls by preserving their habitats and using organic methods rather than chemicals to eliminate agricultural pests.

 

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