Pheasants Forever & Partners Celebrate Stearns County’s Newest 277-Acre Waterfowl Production Area

Acquisition features wetlands and diverse grasslands now available for public use

Watkins, Minn. – Sept. 13, 2019 – Pheasants Forever and a multitude of partners have permanently conserved wildlife habitat and created more upland access with the protection of 277 acres in central Minnesota. The Erpelding Generations Waterfowl Production Area, dedicated on August 28th with a large gathering of partners and sportsmen, is now available to the public for hunting and recreation.    

“Five generations of Erpelding’s have enjoyed nature and the beauty of this farm for the 115 years it was part of the Erpelding family. Now the farm will be accessible for the public to enjoy, forever,” statedRon Erpelding, a conservationist, avid birder, and prior owner of the property. At the dedication, Ron also stated it was his pleasure to be the owner and steward of this family farm for 43 years. He shared the meaningful story of his Grandfather “riding a bicycle” 115 years ago from Iowa to central Minnesota and purchasing the tract. Also in attendance was a youngster by the name of Owen, who represented the sixth generation of the Erpelding family.  

Featuring 75 acres of wetlands and over 127 restored acres of uplands, the Erpelding Generations WPA will provide outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing. Since 1961, there have been 181 different species of birds documented on this Century Farm by Ron Erpelding, two of which he documented this past year and attributed to the recently restored prairie. This unique gem commonly provides encounters with ring-necked pheasants, wild turkey, deer, ducks, sandhill cranes and a large selection of non-game species.

“Stearns County Pheasants Forever is proud to be a part of this great project, which will add tremendous upland habitat, mature oak forest, wetlands and added clean water benefits,” stated Steve Sellnow, chapter president for Stearns County Pheasants Forever. “This is such a great example of partners working together to achieve conservation goals, and to witness a family with such a clear appreciation for the land and their deep conservation roots is truly something special.”

The Erpelding Generations WPA can be found on the west side of Island Lake about 4.5 miles north of Watkins, MN. Partners involved in the project include the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund, Stearns County Pheasants Forever, North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Ronald A. & DeLayne E. (Fox) Erpelding and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

About Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 130,000 members and 740 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $867 million on 540,000 habitat projects benefiting 18 million acres nationwide.