The Jackson Hole Land Trust has protected over 55,000 acres of land since our founding in 1980, currently holding over 250 conservation easements that preserve open space and the scenic, ranching, and wildlife values of Western Wyoming. We work with landowners to conserve parcels, both large and small, that contribute to the iconic character, critical wildlife habitat, and vibrant culture of our valley, and do so in perpetuity.
From our genesis and over the past 38 years, the Land Trust has succeeded because of community leadership, involvement, and action. We continue to pursue active, innovative conservation projects in Jackson Hole, our Wind River Program area, our Green River Valley Program area, and throughout the Greater Yellowstone Area, guided by our mission and strategic planning.
Find out more about the Land Trust’s protection program:
What’s at Stake
Jackson Hole is an extraordinary landscape. From its rivers to the open grasslands and dense pine forests, to the dramatic Tetons that shoot from the valley floor, there is no better place to take in the views. The wildlife sustained by these lands is a treasured community asset. In the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, our valley is one of the highest priority conservation areas in the world, and permanent protection of the private lands in the region is of the utmost importance.
Covering an area roughly the size of West Virginia, the 18 million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is considered the last intact ecosystem in the lower 48 states. The conservation importance of this area was recognized first in 1872 with the formation of Yellowstone National Park, and again in 1950 with the expansion of Grand Teton National Park to its present-day boundaries.
Private lands in Jackson Hole are critical to the survival of many wildlife species, comprising 3% of Teton County. For thousands of years, wildlife have used these habitats and traveled these corridors, despite changes in property ownership and boundaries. Crucial habitat for large ungulates like moose, elk and mule deer, and nesting sites for bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and spawning cutthroat trout are found on these lands. A herd of pronghorn antelope that winter in Wyoming’s Green River basin and summer in Grand Teton National Park makes the longest known terrestrial animal migration in the 48 contiguous states, and has been doing so for over 6,000 years – one of two remaining pronghorn migration corridors out of eight that originally existed in the Greater Yellowstone.
Protecting large open spaces in the valley on historic ranches also conserves the iconic images of Jackson Hole’s history, and make possible the sweeping views that we enjoy in every direction, including summer haystacks dotting the landscape, newborn calves of spring, and historic barns. In addition to these large tracts of land, we also recognize the importance of protecting access to treasured community gathering places that enhance our relationship with the landscape.
At the Jackson Hole Land Trust, we know that conservation requires both a sense of urgency and a patient resolve – particularly as we turn our attention to the last remaining tracts of land with high conservation value in our valley. Much of this land, some 20,000 acres, is at greater risk of development now than ever before. With looming estate taxes, the challenging economy, and the high demand for local real estate, landowners are faced with many pressures to sell and develop their land. To encourage their partnership, we bring our expertise, integrity, and proven track record to the table, and invite them to join us in our resolve to protect what is at stake: the scenic, wildlife, and ranching values of Jackson Hole that make it like no other valley on earth.