In 2008, Butler Trust property was protected. The 816 acres is part of a 4,000-acre natural area complex in central Dakota County.
The Butler Trust property provides the connection between the 475-acre Vermillion River Aquatic and Wildlife Management Area (AWMA) and the 2,840-acre Vermillion Highlands Research, Recreation and Wildlife Management Area. Of the total 816 acres, the southern 360 acres was acquired by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for an expansion of nearby Wildlife Management Area. The northern 456 acres became a new regional park.
The combination of the three properties and joint ownership and management resulted in one of the largest managed natural areas in the region.
The Butler Trust property was identified worthy of public protection because of its rolling topography, high-quality forests and wetlands. The property also contains expansive grasslands and a small lake.
The total purchase price of the Butler Trust property was $14.81 million. Funding for the property was provided through a variety of sources, including the Minnesota DNR, Metropolitan Council, the county and the state.