Habitat & Conservation  |  09/06/2023

SCHEELS Helps Conserve Public Lands with $40K Donation to Pheasants Forever


Wildlife habitat permanently protected in Minnesota’s Clay and Wilkin counties

Pheasants Forever is proud to announce a $40K donation from SCHEELS in support of the organization’s Build a Wildlife Area program in Minnesota. Their five-year commitment has helped The Habitat Organization contribute to public land complexes in Clay and Wilkin counties, further strengthening SCHEELS commitment to conservation and recreational access in the communities it serves. 

“SCHEELS is proud to support Pheasants Forever’s mission with critical funding for the expansion of public lands in Minnesota,” said Nathan Johnson, communications and sponsorship manager for SCHEELS. “Backing conservation efforts that provide our customers and communities with opportunities to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle is vital to who we are as a company. We look forward to watching wildlife and sportsmen thrive together on these properties, and hope to support future public lands funding opportunities.” 

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever announced SCHEELS as the organization’s newest national sponsor and merchandise fulfillment partner in October 2020. The North Dakota-based company has helped market new and existing merchandise lines for PF & QF, ultimately supporting the passion of wingshooters with an investment in the nation’s foremost upland habitat conservation group.

The Build a Wildlife Area donation has been funneled to three different properties in the state’s northwest region, positively impacting the heart of Minnesota’s prairie chicken range. Additionally, these critical habitat complexes will support populations of pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, and waterfowl. 

Akron Wildlife Management Area Addition

The 37-acre Akron WMA Addition is adjacent to the 482-acre Brown Waterfowl Production Area in Wilkin County, Minn. The tract is also surrounded by numerous other protected lands including Conservation Reserve Program enrollments, USFWS wetland easements, and numerous other Waterfowl Production Areas. There is a large wetland that extends onto this tract which is in the final stages of restoration. 

Gruhl Wildlife Management Area Addition

This 160-acre Gruhl WMA Addition is comprised of remnant prairie, shrubland, and wetland areas. Additional cropland is being restored to provide quality nesting habitat for a variety of bird species. These grasslands will be restored using high diversity native prairie mix, which will also benefit pollinators. This property is within a grassland bird conservation area, and has a predicted breeding duck density of 11-30 pairs per square mile.

Kenyon Waterfowl Production Area Addition

The 307-acre Kenyon WPA Addition builds on a complex of existing WPAs and WMAs in Clay County, Minn. — totaling nearly 1,200 acres of permanently protected lands. There are approximately 31 acres of wetlands on the addition, as well as numerous restorable wetlands. This tract is located six miles from Hawley, Minn., providing many recreational opportunities to nearby population centers.   

In addition to support from SCHEELS, thank you to the following contributors who made these projects possible: Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage FundNorth American Wetlands Conservation ActMinnesota Prairie Chicken SocietyClay County Pheasants ForeverMinnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Michael & Dianne Fillmore, John and Diana Benson and other private donors.

To learn more about Pheasants Forever permanent habitat protection projects in Minnesota, visit the organization’s online public lands map.