The Paskas enjoyed their spot on the Wisconsin River for many years. At the closing, Pat told me that she and Ron always planned a conservation future for the property. “Shortly after we purchased the property, we were contacted by the DNR and asked if we were willing to sell. We assured our contact that we would be in touch when that day arrived because we liked the idea of it becoming permanently protected as part of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Unfortunately, when the day arrived funds were not available and they were not in a position to accept it as a donation. Our realtor and friend, John Holbrook, approached Groundswell Conservancy and arranged for us to donate the property, and I understand that it will, at some point, be offered to the State. A happy ending!” And that in fact is Groundswell’s plan.
The Riverway is one of Wisconsin’s great conservation successes. It is a private/public partnership that protects the scenery, wildlife, and historical and archeological resources along 92 miles of the river from Prairie du Sac to Wyalusing State Park. The donation of this land by the Paskas adds another piece to the conservation jigsaw puzzle that is the Riverway.
Even when land is donated we incur transaction costs (title insurance, inspections for potential hazardous wastes, etc). When purchasing land, these costs are often covered by grants. The costs we incurred to accept this donation of land were paid out of our Norm Anderson Conservation Opportunities Fund. This fund was established in 2020 to help us capture conservation opportunities that are outside our budget. The fund is named in honor of Norm Anderson, our first president, who died in 2020. His leadership in the early 1980s provided our new land trust with credibility and opened the doors for success, like this one on the Wisconsin River.