Little Knife Sanctuary

Introduction of ideas about the Little Knife River Nature Sanctuary and Artist Residency.

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Little Knife Sanctuary

Frank Sander

Frank Sander 6286 Copperline Rd Duluth, MN 55804 651.274.3121 Friede Rica Sander 218.310.6410
Land Details:
The Little Knife Sanctuary consists of 19.7 acres situated 1 mile inland…


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Frank Sander 6286 Copperline Rd Duluth, MN 55804 651.274.3121 Friede Rica Sander 218.310.6410
Land Details:
The Little Knife Sanctuary consists of 19.7 acres situated 1 mile inland from Lake Superior and about 12 miles northeast of Duluth, MN along Hwy 61. It is in a transition zone, ecologically speaking, between the southern hardwood forests and the boreal evergreen woods of the north. The Little Knife River cuts the property in two sections, the smaller section on the western side is developed with a small garden, apple orchard and a couple of building sites which are still under constructio. My father have owned the property for the past 15 years and have only recently started to craft our vision for an environmental arts and herbal center. The larger portion has been and will be left wild except for a couple of trails that have been opened up for easier access during guided tours. Because the Little Knife River is already a federally designated trout stream most of the property is protected under "environmental overlay" regulations.
What makes this land special, beyond what makes all land and wild spaces special, is that it contains within it's relatively small boundaries a diversity of ecological communities including a grove of virgin old growth white pines. This grove of grandfather and grandmother trees is very rare in northern MN where the logging of the 1920's wiped out almost all of the pine forests. There are also northern white cedar groves and a mixed wood of maples, paper birch and aspens.
My goals for future conservation projects include propagating and transplanting endangered wild medicinals into niches they would normally hold within this ecosystem on this piece of land. I am still doing research on who needs help and where they like to live within our cold northern climate and am hoping to work out a plan of action over the winter to implement once the snow melts next early summer.
List of existing medicinal plants: Horsetail, solomons seal, false solomons seal, nodding trillium, wild ginger, cleavers, wood nettles, red raspberry, plantain, northern white cedar, white pine, usnea, tansy, gravel root, yarrow, chaga, red osier dog wood, golden rod, blood root
Educational Programs:
Our goal for next summer is to begin having open hours for self-guided tours all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday (May-Oct) and guided tours one day a week. For the self guided tours we plan on having a descriptive map with pertinent information about the various plants that grow along the trail and keys to identify them. We hope to have volunteers come and help get the gardens started and to learn with us about wild medicinal cultivation and reintroduction because we will be doing this for the first time as well. In the more distant future when I become better versed in the green world I would like to take on live-in apprentices and expand into an herbal center/apothecary for this community where I grew up.
Because we are still in the planning process I have as of yet only led informal plant walks for friends and acquaintances who visit.

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