New wildlife area opens near Rochester, Minn.

A new wildlife recreation area is now open in southern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced on Monday it had received a land donation of 420 acres in Olmsted County.

The area, named the Moon Valley Wildlife Management Area, is about 15 minutes northwest of Rochester.

The donation includes forest bluffs, springs, and shorelines along the middle fork of the Zumbro River. The DNR also plans to convert 200 acres of former cropland to wetlands, prairie, and floodplain forest.

The management area is named after the donors, the Moon family, who operated a family farm there for decades.

"With urban spread, there are fewer and fewer wild and open spaces for people and wildlife to roam," Linda Moon said in a provided statement. "The Moon family hopes this can be a small refuge for our neighbors and for our family to come home to as well. It was our beautiful farm, and now it will return to its natural state open to everyone."

The area is located just southeast of County Road 105 NW and 75th Street NW in Genoa, Minn.