A family with historic roots in the state’s dairy industry has added a gift of Kickapoo Valley land to its Wisconsin legacy.
The Babson family, owners for many years of the Chicago-based Surge milking machine business that was part of the modernization of dairy farming, Wednesday donated to the Mississippi Valley Conservancy 1,129 acres on the Kickapoo River north of Viola in Vernon County.
Tim Jacobson, executive director of the MVC, said that the property, known as Kings Point Farm, is adjacent to the Tunnelville Cliffs State Natural Area already owned by the La Crosse-based land trust. “It is an astonishing gift that gives further protection to important ecological features and wildlife as well as increasing public access to this spectacular part of the Wisconsin landscape.”
George Kerckhove, MVC president, said the Babsons’ donation, appraised at $2.5 million, is the largest gift of land received by the MVC since it was started in 1997. “I think I can speak for all the people of Wisconsin in expressing our gratitude to the Babsons for their splendid gift,” Kerckhove said.
In addition to placing a conservation easement and invasive species control on the donated property, MVC will use prescribed burns to restore some of the rare native habitat, including oak savanna.
Mississippi Valley Conservancy with 1,200 members has protected 11,000 acres in its seven-county southwest Wisconsin region.
For information on how you can permanently conserve your land, receive tax incentives for conserving your land, or become a contributing member of Mississippi Valley Conservancy, please visit MississippiValleyConservancy.org; write to us at 201 Main St., Suite 1001, La Crosse, WI 54601; or send e-mail to info@MississippiValleyConservancy.org.