With their annual banquet on Saturday the East Medicine Chapter of Pheasants Forever announced the purchase of 80 acres that will become the Dennis Haaland Wildlife Management Area.
Haaland, a long-time teacher and conservationist from Clarkfield, garnered the respect and love of his community through his warm nature and passion for the outdoors.
“Family, friends, neighbors, fellow hunters and outdoor enthusiasts all suffered a huge loss when Dennis O. Haaland passed away in the fall of 2010 while doing two of the things he loved best - hunting pheasants and ducks near Britton, South Dakota. Dennis was many things to many people - a family man, a man of faith, an educator, an athlete, a hunter, a farmer, and an ardent conservationist. Never loud, always quiet, but firm, persistent, consistent, and persuasive, he believed in service and practiced what he preached. Those who knew him best still miss him deeply and remember him for these and his many other fine qualities,” stated the East Medicine Chapter in describing Haaland’s legacy.
Chapter Chairmen Scott Sanjer detailed how work on the Wildlife Management Area began saying, “Shortly after Dennis died we came up with the idea of doing something like this. Dennis’s family donated money right out of Dennis’s funeral fund, so we began searching for a project that Dennis might approve of. A year ago we found the property (about 53 acres of farmland and 27 acres of wetland just east of St. Leo) that we ended up buying. Once we got close a number of Dennis’s friends and some local business people (including both Granite Falls Bank and F&M Bank of Clarkfield) came through with an outpouring of generous donations.”
The outpouring of support and donations for the Wildlife Management Area are a testement to the impact that Haaland had on people, conservation and wildlife in this area.
“We believe Dennis would approve,” stated the Chapter.