JACKSON, Wyo. — In 2022, the Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) doubled down on the community-building power of protected open space. From growing the WYLD membership and programming exponentially to leveraging nationwide funding for conservation, the JHLT’s strategic efforts brought more people than ever to the table with a shared goal of protecting the places they love.

As always, the JHLT created opportunities for this community to experience conservation first-hand. In June, the JHLT invited locals to celebrate the grand opening of the Greenspace on the Block. Protected in 2019 through an unprecedented community effort, the concert opening was an homage to all the people who stepped up to Save the Block. In the months that followed, the JHLT hosted dozens of nonprofit partners from the Teton Raptor Center to the Teton Behavioral Health Alliance with the goal of maximizing this community open space for all.

R Park continued to bring people together in 2022. Beyond the (leashed!) dog walks, sledding escapades, and other family outings evident each day at this beloved community park, the JHLT was thrilled to welcome back the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Kids Fishing Day. Both winter and summer solstice celebrations were also back in full swing, welcoming all to R Park in support of community conservation. The JHLT supported fellow community organizations by hosting camps by Coombs Outdoors and Wyoming Wildlife Federation and events like Slow Food in the Tetons’ final stop of their annual food tour.

Since the launch of the WYLD membership in early 2022, the JHLT has been overwhelmed with support and enthusiasm for this budding community-focused giving program. WYLD has flourished into a community of 111 members, creating much-needed maintenance and program funding for beloved community open spaces like R Park and the Greenspace on the Block. In total, WYLD support enabled the JHLT to partner with 26 community organizations over the summer.

The JHLT has also secured more than $1 million in public funding for active priority protection projects totaling 6,300 acres across Northwest Wyoming. This will add to more than 57,000 acres of existing JHLT conservation easements that safeguard critical water sources and wildlife habitat, ensure continued agriculture, and link together existing conservation areas throughout Northwestern Wyoming. The JHLT is also in the process of broadening our conservation impact through the creation of a Park County-focused program. Slated for launch in early 2023, this regionally managed program will protect agricultural lands and wildlife habitat just outside of Yellowstone National Park.

This year the JHLT stewardship team partnered with conservation landowners to log the condition of 2,235 acres of new conservation easements in addition to all other acreage currently under easement. The JHLT also worked with our partners in conservation such as the Teton Conservation District, JH Wildlife Foundation, JH Clean Water Coalition, and Teton Weed and Pest to improve easement properties’ s ecologic function. Projects such as removing old fences, restoring native vegetation, and instituting best management practices help enhance habitats, protect migration routes, and protect water quality. The JHLT was also a lead partner in the creation of Teton Conservation District’s Mountain Neighbor Handbook, available online and in print: mountainneighbor.org.

Three additional staff members joined the team in 2022: Land Steward Kerry Gold, Events and Outreach Associate Alexandra Munger, and Conservation Project Manager Madison Harper. The JHLT was also thrilled to have additional capacity for the summer with stewardship associates Eric Gocke and Micah Melczer and Coombs Outdoors EMPOWER intern Nate Espejel. New board members include Mark Fisher, Mekki Jaidi, and Anita Miles. Finally, the JHLT’s WYLD Advisory Council has grown to include Lucas Ayoub, Molly Broom, Robin Cameron, Aaron Carillo Hernandez, Julie Dery, Andy Flores-Cano, Laura Gaylord, Victor Hernandez, Kahlynn Huck, Mekki Jaidi, Tiffany Kelly, Elizabeth Martinez, and Hal Wheeler.

The support of this community makes a huge impact for on-the-ground conservation that can be seen in the growing number of acres under easement and community spaces like R Park.

Please consider a gift to the Jackson Hole Land Trust this year-end: jhlandtrust.org/donate.