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Preservation group buys East Lake Okoboji shoreline property

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East Lake Okoboji site purchased

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation has purchased 50 acres at East Lake Okoboji to preserve the shoreline's natural state.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa -- An Iowa preservation group has raised $8.2 million to buy 50 acres on the East Lake Okoboji shoreline and preserve its natural state.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation announced Tuesday that it met the fundraising goal on Monday. The property includes 2,020 feet of natural shoreline, the last remaining undeveloped, privately owned stretch of shoreline on the lake. It also offers one of the last remaining wildlife corridors between the lake and the Spring Run Wetland Complex to the east.

"By protecting this place, we're able to preserve vital wildlife habitat, water quality benefits and scenic beauty in a place that is used and loved by so many people. We are honored to partner with the Iowa Great Lakes community to ensure this special place will be preserved forever, and we look forward to people enjoying it for years to come," Natural Heritage Fund president Joe McGovern said in a news release.

The foundation bought an option last fall on the site and had until Labor Day to raise the money to exercise the option. INHF is expected to close on the property and take possession by the end of the year.

The nonprofit group plans to own the property long term and work on ecological restoration of the shoreline, native prairie and oak savanna. It plans to allow low-impact public use, such as multi-use trails extending from the adjacent state park.

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