Land Trust squeezed a lot out of 2017

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Taking stock of its accomplishments over the past year, Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) counted five properties and 114 acres of land put under protection in 2017.

JHLT secured scenic open space and crucial wildlife habitat throughout Teton County in 2017. Three properties were located in the Crescent H Ranch, one property was on East Gros Ventre Butte, and the fifth was on Ely Springs Road.

The properties add to the existing 55,000 acres of land conserved in northwest Wyoming by the Land Trust.

“This year’s easements protect important, high-quality habitat and connectivity for wildlife in Teton County,” said Laurie Andrews, president of JHLT. “We are grateful for the exemplary efforts of the involved partners and families to protect wildlife habitat on a landscape-scale in our own backyard.”

Ely Springs easement (Jansen Gunderson)

In 2017, the Trust zeroed in on conserving wildlife habitat, safeguarding vital water sources, and linking together existing conservation areas. All told, 2017 projects protect 35 acres for mule deer and sage grouse, 79 for moose, a half-mile for elk migrations, a half-mile of trout streams, and one active bald eagle nest.

In October, the Land Trust celebrated the 1st full year since the merger of the Green River Valley Land Trust, which established the Green River Valley Program. The merger brought an additional 58 conservation easements totaling 32,000 acres to the Land Trust.

Solstice Celebration at R Park, Wilson WY. June 20, 2017. (David J Swift)

In May, the Land Trust received a $1.7 million grant from the LOR Foundation to manage the process of completing the community’s vision for Rendezvous Park, now a program of the Jackson Hole Land Trust. As the only non-profit park in Teton County, R Park is a reflection of the community values of our supporters, users, residents and visitors.

The Jackson Hole Land Trust partnered with Lower Valley Energy (LVE) in July of 2017 on an initiative to bury overhead utility lines on existing conservation easement properties along scenic highways in the Land Trust’s service area. The initiative launched with the pilot project at Snake River Ranch, extending LVE’s existing plans to bury utility lines from the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort south to the ranch for an additional 2,700 feet. The section of the buried lines includes the poles, which failed in a large snowstorm in February 2017.

And the Trust got artsy in 2017

FoundSpace, June 2017, Wilson Centennial Pathway. (Brantley Sydnor)

The popular FoundSpace artmaking project brought Jackson Hole Public Art in partnership with the Land Trust. The theme of FoundSpace 2017 was “Lost and Found,” which encouraged participants from the Doug Coombs Foundation and the Teton Chapter of the Wyoming Native Plants Society to recover objects from JHLT easement protected properties that were then incorporated into installations in the public open space of the Wilson Centennial Ponds Easement. FoundSpace was funded by support from the Center of Wonder and the Wyoming Arts Council.

The 2017 View22: Field Study project linked 21 artists to land conservation in Northwest Wyoming including Sublette and Fremont Counties. Green flags highlighted the highly visible conservation properties throughout the valley in the summer, in the weeks preceding the Land Trust’s Annual Picnic in August at the Hardeman North meadow.

Protected Bar Cross Ranch north of Cora. (Arnie Brokling)

Other developments

In April 2016, the Jackson Hole Land Trust transferred the historic Hardeman Barns to the Teton Raptor Center. The 27-acre iconic conservation property in Wilson, Wyoming was initially protected in 1989, when the local community helped raise $1.7 million in four months. The land was permanently safeguarded from development, and has since realized the vision set by the community, as a hub for nonprofit organizations that give back through education and research.

The Jackson Hole Land Trust welcomed three new members to its board of directors in 2017: Shawn Smith, Lori Fields, and Alex Muromcew. Five new individuals joined the Open Space Council in 2017: Dorothy Bahna, Andres Esparza, Des Jennings, Meghan Bell Lori, and Nicole Sheehan.

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