Don Behm reported on Saturday that a couple from Illinois had purchased 3,195 acres in Oneida County and granted an easement that will protect the 75 kilometers of ski and snowshoe trails in Minocqua Winter Park.
Ken and Carolyn Aldridge, of Libertyville, donated a conservation easement on the property to the Northwoods Land trust, the reported to be the largest conservation easement granted to a land trust in the state.
"This is a Christmas present for friends of Minocqua Winter Park," said Brian Pierce, executive director of the land trust.
Among the popular trails preserved in the easement: Tornado Alley, Nutcracker, Nose Dive, Silver Strider and Sleigh Ride.
Through the land protection agreement, the Aldridges have granted skiers perpetual access to the existing trails. The trust will develop a management plan to preserve the stands of red and white pine and set limits on timber harvest.
"The vision of the owners is to enhance the scenic beauty of the property" by not impeding forest succession, Pierce said. "Large blocks of old white and red pines will be allowed to mature to a climax forest."