Trust saves 438 acres
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: January 7, 2013
The Jackson Hole Land Trust sewed up a conservation easement last week that will protect 153 acres on the Red Rock Ranch.
The deal capped a big year for the trust, its leaders said.
The property conserved last week, along the Gros Ventre River above Lower Slide Lake, is home for bald eagles, elk, mule deer, antelope, moose and cutthroat trout.
Land Trust Executive Director Laurie Andrews said the easement “protects ranging heritage as well as important, high-quality habitat and connectivity for wildlife up the Gros Ventre.”
The property is one of six on which easements were secured during 2012. The trust’s efforts preserved 438 acres.
That’s a significant increase from last year, when the nonprofit organization completed easements on three properties, protecting 61 acres.
The easement at the Red Rock Ranch is the third donated to the trust by the MacKenzie family since the mid-1970s. The family had previously placed 320 acres under easements.
The 640-acre ranch is surrounded by the Bridger-Teton National Forest and is adjacent to the Gros Ventre Wilderness.
Land trust representatives also finished the third phase of its Flat Creek Corridor Project, a partnership between the trust and the town of Jackson that seeks to place about 40 acres under protection.
Another two easements were put in place in the Bar B Bar Ranch subdivision, north of Jackson along the Snake River corridor.
Those easements protected 97 acres in an area that is riparian habitat and part of a migration route for elk between Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge.
Last month, a company called Sacred Waters donated 5 acres at the B-Hive Ranch along Highway 390.
Land trust board President Pete Lawton called December a “banner month.”
Aside from the flurry of end-of-the-year activity, the organization accepted a 181-acre easement in August on a property north of town along the Snake. It is also in the middle of planning a park on the banks of the Snake River, near the intersection of Highways 390 and 22.
Land trust representatives, through a partnership with the LOR Foundation, closed on the riverfront property in December 2011. They hope to open the park, called Rendezvous Park, in fall 2013 or spring 2014.