Slice of 1800s Minnesota donated in Freeborn Co.

A Minneapolis attorney has given the Department of Natural Resources one of its largest donations ever — 549 acres of wetlands, prairie and woods in Freeborn County.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports that the land sits in the midst of farmland between Blooming Prairie and Austin.

John Goetz is the attorney who donated the land, which is valued at more than $664,000. Goetz bought the land in the mid-1990s as a place for recreation and rental.

Goetz says he loves nature and has a longing to know what Minnesota was like before it was settled. He says standing in the middle of the section feels like being back in the 1800s, with waving grasses, wetlands and birds.

It will be dedicated as a state wildlife management area on Saturday.