ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

PHOTOS + VIDEO: Walz, Flanagan join Pheasants Forever, DNR to dedicate Nobles County land for public access

The Elsing tract of the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area is located along the Little Rock River near Rushmore.

Gov. Tim Walz and Nobles County Pheasants Forever President Scott Rall visit before the dedication of the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area Friday.
Gov. Tim Walz and Nobles County Pheasants Forever President Scott Rall visit before the dedication of the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area Friday.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
We are part of The Trust Project.

RUSHMORE — With rolling hills and clusters of pine trees in the background, Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and other state dignitaries dedicated the Elsing tract of the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area on a blustery, overcast Friday afternoon near Rushmore.

MORE NOBLES COUNTY NEWS
Professional researcher Debbie Boe will give an introduction to family history research for new genealogists.
Greg and Cindy DeGroot offered a matching fund of up to $100,000 through the Legacy Partners program of Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation.
Deer grazed in a cornfield in near Rushmore in southwest Minnesota.

Walz, a lifetime member of Pheasants Forever, chose to bring the 2022 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener back to Nobles County eight years after it first hosted the event because of the work being done by Pheasants Forever. On Friday, he joined in recognizing one of the chapter’s more recent acquisitions.

On the eve of the pheasant hunting opener, Walz said his visit was also an opportunity to highlight “what this great state has to offer.”

“To the Elsing family, the state of Minnesota owes you a great debt of gratitude (for) … preserving a legacy with this land,” Walz said. “It will be here now for our children, our grandchildren to enjoy.”

The 295-acre parcel was purchased by Nobles County Pheasants Forever from descendants of Willie and Henrietta Elsing.

ADVERTISEMENT

Roxie Elsing, their daughter, said she and her two brothers were directed to try to sell the land to Pheasants Forever if it ever became too much for them to manage.

“My father bought this land in 1968 or ’69 with the sole intention that maybe someday he could put it in CRP,” Elsing shared following the dedication ceremony. “He loved to hunt, and therefore he wanted a place for his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to hunt.”

The Worthington Fire Department raised an American Flag at the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area as Gov. Tim Walz attended the dedication celebration Friday.
The Worthington Fire Department raised an American Flag at the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area as Gov. Tim Walz attended the dedication celebration Friday.

Willie and Henrietta lived in Rushmore, but purchased the parcel of 43 tillable acres for hunting. It wasn’t just a playground, though. There was a lot of work that went into controlling weeds, planting trees and creating wildlife habitat.

“One of the last things my father would always say to me when I’d walk out the door is to ‘make sure you stay ahead of those thistles,’” shared Elsing, who resides in White Bear Lake. “He was very adamant about that.”

Pleased that Pheasants Forever purchased the property, Elsing said Friday, “I think it’s in the right hands.

Gov. Tim Walz salutes the flag as the Buffalo Ridge Young Marines present the colors to start the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area dedication Friday afternoon.
Gov. Tim Walz salutes the flag as the Buffalo Ridge Young Marines present the colors to start the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area dedication Friday afternoon.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

“Those who love nature, those who want to walk it can hunt it, they can do whatever they want to, which is wonderful,” she said. “This was (Dad’s) fun property. He enjoyed it; he worked hard on it.

“This was his dream and this is my mother’s dream.”

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Area Wildlife Manager Bill Schuna said the Elsing tract joins 30 Wildlife Management Areas in Nobles County, totalling approximately 6,700 acres — less than 2% of the county’s land area.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Elsing tract will be seeded with a pollinator mix of 70 species, about half of which are grasses and the other half prairie forbs.

“Come back in two to three years and it will be at its peak,” Schuna told those gathered under a large tent on the Elsing tract.

Gov. Tim Walz (second row, fourth from left) and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan (second row, fourth from right) is joined by members of the Elsing family, members of Nobles County Pheasants Forever, Buffalo Ridge Young Marines, Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle and others at a dedication of the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area Friday afternoon as part of the Minnesota Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener festivities.
Group photo with the Minnesota Governor Tim Walz at a dedication of the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area during Minnesota Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

A portion of the tract will be managed by the Worthington FFA Chapter through the Adopt a Wildlife Management Area, Schuna said. Nobles County Pheasants Forever not only adopted the remainder of the site, but every other WMA in Nobles County — as well as some in Murray County.

“The DNR is so grateful for all of the help,” Schuna said.

Nobles County Pheasants Forever President Scott Rall realizes the importance of not only making lands available for public access, but managing those lands as well.

“The difference between a land dedication in southwest Minnesota and somewhere else in the state is the fact that when you can add 300 acres to the landscape that’s only 1.4% in conservation lands, it’s like a meteor strike,” Rall said. “It leaves a huge mark. It makes a huge difference.”

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan give interviews to the press at the  Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area Friday afternoon, Oct. 14, 2022.
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan give interviews to the press at the Ransom Ridge Wildlife Management Area Friday afternoon, Oct. 14, 2022.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

He first met Roxie Elsing a few years ago, and said the land transfer changed her, it changed him and it changed the landscape in Nobles County.

“With our partners, our Area Wildlife Manager Bill Schuna — who is just a conservation rock star — and … Pheasants Forever, we are thrilled to death to be able to say that there’s a place for a 12-year-old kid to go — or someone to go take a picture of a butterfly — and we’re going to plant a bunch of flowers and it’s going to be beautiful.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Nobles County Pheasants Forever volunteers have already logged 1,000 hours to clear the property and ready it for habitat development, and Rall was “part of every single second of those man hours,” shared event emcee and Nobles County Pheasants Forever member Chad Nixon.
Named Pheasant Run 39, it’s one of 43 tracts of land purchased by Nobles County Pheasants Forever in its nearly 40-year history.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said she appreciated the conservation efforts by groups like Pheasants Forever.

“Our conservation efforts are really the heart of the work that we do and … we’re so grateful and so thankful for everybody that’s part of this,” she said. “It’s about conserving our land for future generations, stewarding our environment.”

MORE AGRICULTURE NEWS
Among other items, a Minnesota soybean leader said the Port of Duluth is still a major factor for success for the state and the country.
Rod Burkard now has the opportunity to compete in August at the national event in Pennsylvania.
Benson and Turner Foods will process cattle and hogs at Waubun, Minnesota, on the White Earth Reservation with the help of a USDA grant.

Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen and Explore Minnesota Executive Director Lauren Bennett McGinty also spoke during the dedication, highlighting the conversation that took place earlier in the afternoon during a listening session with community members, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and DNR staff.

“We got to hear … about what it means to have us all work together to enjoy the land that we’re on and preserve it for generations to come — and what that means for different people and different backgrounds,” Bennett McGinty said.

“We had a wonderful afternoon talking with the mayor and community about what public lands mean to people,” added Strommen. “We also heard how important they are to protect water quality — and to protect this community’s water supply, how important they are to bring people together … how important they are for climate strategies and how they can sequester carbon.

“In just this addition here, 750 metric tons of CO2 will be stored in just this spot,” Strommen said of the Elsing tract. “To the Elsing family, thank you. The DNR says we like to work with Minnesotans and here we are today to celebrate with Minnesotans.”

Read more from Julie Buntjer:
Women plan to add a mini market and deli to their business in the coming months.
The head-on crash occurred on Minnesota 23.
Roemeling and Drown were selected from a competitive field of hundreds of applicants to attend the state’s 2022 conservation officer training academy.
Nominations sought for Community Pride, and a little story shared from the farm.
The genetic disease is more common in males, and usually begins to cause vision loss in individuals in their late teens or early 20s.
“I will bring Phase 2 of the plan next month, and we can literally go out for bids.”
A full propane tank, as well as two diesel tanks, both located on the south side of the building, were of major concern.
Members Only
Sieve has traveled the world to explore wildlife in their habitats, but his favorite subject is the white-tailed deer found near his hometown of Wilmont, and his home today in southeast Minnesota.
Both local food shelves report increased need among Nobles County residents.
The fourth quarter awards by the foundation wrap up a year of significant milestones for the foundation, according to WRHCF Executive Director Jeff Rotert.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
What To Read Next
Noah Moss of Aitkin, Minnesota, caught the 54-inch muskie Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, on Lake Plantagenet near Bemidji.
The Superior native died in 1956, but his writing still has a huge following.
Awards were announced during Friday’s annual FORWARD Worthington Extravaganza at Lerma’s Event Center.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of no more than five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both for each of the charges against him.