WAUBAY – Pheasants Forever announced recently it will honor lifetime conservationist Tim Kessler by permanently conserving 440 acres in South Dakota.

The land was purchased and donated to the State of South Dakota and will be managed by the state’s Game, Fish and Parks department as the new Kessler Game Production Area.

It honors the former GF&P Commission Chairman and Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever National Board Chairman. The tract contains native prairie, wetlands, and marginal cropland that will be restored and managed for the benefit of upland wildlife and public access. It was created as part of Pheasants Forever's Build a Wildlife Area program.

The Kessler Game Production Area is located east of Pickerel Lake and is part of the Glacial Lakes Region that encompasses much of northeast South Dakota and stretches along the Coteau des Prairies hills. Comprised of 236 acres of native prairie, 124 acres of cropland (planned for conversion to grasslands restoration) and 80 acres of wetlands, this expansive project is home to some of South Dakota’s most iconic species, including ring-necked pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse, and waterfowl, along with the endangered Dakota Skipper butterfly.

Kessler served on the GF&P Commission for 17 years, consistently working to improve and maintain the state’s natural resources. A lifelong resident of Aberdeen, Kessler is also a third-generation family owner of the 1939 establishment, Kessler Food and Drug. He took over the family business in the late 1980’s after graduating from Northern State University in Aberdeen. In 2013, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard recognized Kessler with the state’s “Distinguished Service Award” for his efforts on behalf of the state’s outdoor heritage. This included a $100,000 donation to help enhance statewide habitat initiatives across South Dakota.

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“The team at Game, Fish and Parks wants to thank Tim for his commitment, dedication and contributions to wildlife habitat and sustaining our strong outdoor heritage,” stated Kevin Robling, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. “We are thankful for this land donation and will ensure it is properly managed for wildlife production while making it a special place for the public to pursue their outdoor passions.”