During survey work in Sherburne County in 1989, MBS mapped a high-quality maple-basswood forest in Livonia Township (see map below). The county was experiencing rapid home development and soon afterward the forest was parceled into house lots by a land development company. Local citizens mobilized, and began working to promote acquisition of the site by the township as a park, christened "Sugarbush Preserve."
In 2001, the township and residents approached The Trust for Public Land for assistance in saving the forest. The trust agreed to temporarily purchase the 38-acre site, preventing development and providing the township and residents time to raise money for acquisition and management. The money was raised—including matching grants from the township toward contributions and a Natural and Scenic Areas grant from the DNR—and Sugarbush Preserve is now a township park. In 2008 the township developed a master plan that features low-impact walking trails and a parking area to enhance use of Sugarbush Preserve for education and nature observation.