The Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) has protected 114 acres of land in Teton County in 2017, rounding out another successful year of conservation in Western Wyoming.
Five properties totaling 114-acres of scenic open space and crucial wildlife habitat were protected 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 Jackson Hole Land Trust conserved land in Northwest Wyoming.
This year’s protected properties aim to conserve wildlife habitat, safeguard vital water sources, and link together existing conservation areas. Together these projects protect 35 acres for mule deer and sage grouse, 79 for moose, ½ mile for elk migrations, ½ mile of trout streams, and 1 active bald eagle nest.
“This year’s easements protect important, high-quality habitat and connectivity for wildlife in Teton County,” said Laurie Andrews, Jackson Hole Land Trust President. “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.”
In December 2017, the Land Trust formally approved a new strategic plan. The Jackson Hole Land Trust Board of Directors ratified a new mission and vision for the organization which reflects our commitment to our regional work. The new mission is to protect and steward the treasured landscapes of Northwest Wyoming. Our revisited vision is a legacy of protected open spaces, wildlife habitat, working lands and community spaces across Northwest Wyoming that inspire current and future generations. Alongside the updated mission and vision comes a refreshed look and feel with a new logo designed by Orijin Media.
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. With the new branch of the Land Trust, the program opens up countless doors for land protection projects on a landscape scale and allows the organization to truly incorporate a regionally-minded outlook. The merger brought an additional 58 conservation easements totaling 32,000 acres to the Land Trust.
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, which is now a program of the Jackson Hole Land Trust. As the only non-profit park in Teton County, R Park is a
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reflection of the community values of our supporters, users, residents and visitors. The Jackson Hole Land Trust has been leveraging the LOR funding to make exciting new updates to the park, including signage, a welcome kiosk and restrooms. Additionally, the Land Trust has helped initiate greater programming for R Park, including the launch of the Junior Ranger program.
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, which caused the resort and local community millions of dollars in damage and losses. The Land Trust is eager to be a part of a solution that will benefit the community’s open spaces as well as provide protection against harsh winter storms and weather.
Paired with a year of exceptional regional conservation efforts, the Jackson Hole Land Trust engaged in community outreach through strong and sustainable partnerships. 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.
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 4 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 3 new members of the 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.