Landowner Spotlight: Broken Arrow Ranch

Broken Arrow Ranch is 61 acres on the banks of the Hoback River, protected by a JHLT conservation easement since 1997. Randy Luskey purchased the property the year before for the City Kids Wilderness Project, a nonprofit founded on the belief that providing enriching life experiences for DC youth can enhance their lives, the lives of their families, and the greater community.

City Kids offers year-round programming for up to seven consecutive years per student. Each summer is spent at Broken Arrow Ranch, exploring the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and enjoying the peace of the ranch. Guy Trautman, ranch manager who grew up on the ranch and returned in 2001 reflected, “It’s just a great place to be a kid.” He finds that this welcoming nature of the ranch provides kids relief from the stressors of their city lives and allows them to drop their guard.

Guy also recognizes that the numerous conservation easements of the Bryan Flats area provide for the open space and plentiful wildlife that make the ranch special and welcoming to the campers. In addition, Trautman noted that he has only ever found one animal caught in the fence over all his years at Broken Arrow thanks to the wildlife-friendly fencing practices that go hand-in-hand with the conservation easement.

Though the camp is not open this summer due to COVID-19, they hope to bring students back next year and to welcome Guy’s protégé, Justin, as the new ranch manager.

Photo courtesy of City Kids Wilderness Project

18 Acres Protected on High School Butte

Jackson Hole Land Trust Safeguards Public Access through the Conservation of an 18-Acre Parcel on High School Butte

Community access and wildlife habitat protected at a favorite local recreation spot  

The Jackson Hole Land Trust announced today the purchase and protection of 18 acres of public access conservation land on High School Butte in the Town of Jackson. The parcel is located on the southwest-facing slopes of High School Butte and holds significant community, wildlife, and scenic conservation values. The conservation of the property will extinguish development rights, secure public access, and preserve an important refuge for wildlife above the light and noise from an increasingly dense residential area.

“While this parcel has been owned privately for decades, it has historically been accessed and used by the community as part of the High School Butte trails,” said Liz Long, interim co-director and director of conservation at the Jackson Hole Land Trust. “When this property went up for sale, we recognized it as a unique opportunity to formalize and safeguard public access to a piece of land that the community loves and uses regularly, while also protecting important wildlife acreage immediately adjacent to additional JHLT easement-protected properties.”

Accessible from the classic High School Butte switchbacks on the adjacent property owned by the Teton County School District, this parcel is home to multiple social trails and a rudimentary double track which have been used as unofficial hiking trails. The Jackson Hole Land Trust, working within a conservation-oriented management plan, will perform erosion mitigation, work to eliminate invasive plant species, and create a low impact loop trail for the community to enjoy.

“We know that access to nature and open space is critical to the mental and physical health of our community, especially during these challenging times,” explained Jenny Wolfrom Holladay, interim co-director and director of advancement and engagement at the Jackson Hole Land Trust. “High School Butte provides safe and easy access to the outdoors for families, students, and hikers of all ages. We are committed to inclusivity in conservation and believe that this protected public access property will be a place where everyone can seek out and experience the benefits of open space.”

The Jackson Hole Land Trust’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan includes a community engagement goal in which the organization pledges to protect and create natural community spaces that have special meaning for people and provide access to land. Community conservation projects like R Park, Save the Block, and now High School Butte provide the community with access to open spaces that may have otherwise been private. They are a tangible result of the JHLT’s commitment to making land conservation relevant and beneficial to everyone in the community.

As with most conservation efforts, the High School Butte project has been a collaborative effort and was made possible in partnership with a local family who wishes to remain anonymous and their agent, Greg Prugh, who thoughtfully reached out to the JHLT in hopes of this conservation solution, as well as Teton County School District who willingly agreed to allow access via their High School Butte property. The purchase and protection of the 18-acre lot on High School Butte was funded through private protection dollars raised by the Jackson Hole Land Trust. Additional funding opportunities for the project exist.

The Jackson Hole Land Trust plans to host several focus groups with neighbors, partners, and community members over the upcoming winter to collect community feedback and ideas about property use and management. Trail maintenance, upgrades, and construction is anticipated to begin in summer 2021. The JHLT-owned High School Butte parcel will be subject to winter closures to protect and benefit wildlife.

240-Acre Loomis Ranch Transferred to the National Forest

“This project embodies the spirit of our work to provide migration connectivity and stopover habitat to our region’s wildlife and to support agricultural operations.” 

The Jackson Hole Land Trust’s Green River Valley Program has partnered with The Conservation Fund and U.S. Forest Service-Bridger-Teton National Forest to conserve the 240-acre Loomis Park Ranch by transferring this parcel to the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

For more information, read our joint press release or find related articles in the news:

Jackson Hole News & Guide

Buckrail

San Francisco Chronicle

 

Photo courtesy of Dan Schlager

Save the Block

Celebrating the One Year Anniversary of Saving the Block

This week we are celebrating the one year anniversary of successfully protecting the greenspace on the Block forever through a conservation easement. It was a fast and furious campaign to raise more than $7 million to keep the community-cherished, historic downtown public space safe from the development of a 90,000-square-foot hotel. The Jackson Hole Land Trust had just over four months to generate enough community support and funding to cover the conservation component of the land deal. The deal was made possible by an anonymous local family who originally placed the entire block under contract to provide project partners the opportunity to develop a community-oriented plan that ensured the protection of the greenspace, preserved the historic buildings, and kept local businesses in their homes.

With COVID-19 restrictions limiting our ability to gather to celebrate the one year anniversary of this inspiring campaign, we are revisiting the exciting timeline of the Save the Block campaign and feeling grateful for each and every one of you who made a contribution to this unified community effort. Join us in recognizing and celebrating the incredible milestones that collectively resulted in Saving the Block.

Save the Block Campaign Timeline

This effort was made possible through the support of more than 2,500 individuals and businesses who made 5,700 gifts to the campaign to Save the Block. We are excited to move forward with the plans to create an even better and bigger community greenspace opening Summer 2021.

As we celebrate this success together, we hope you will consider a gift to the Jackson Hole Land Trust’s Annual Fund which will support the ongoing maintenance and programming for the Block and other community conservation properties like Rendezvous “R” Park.

WyoView: Wild. Open. Connected.

WyoView is back with the theme of WILD.OPEN.CONNECTED. in honor of JHLT‘s 40th anniversary! This year, WyoView works are for sale via a silent auction. Click here to view the entire gallery and to place your bid. Read on for featured artist Kay Stratman’s perspective and process.

This year I have the privilege to once again participate in the Land Trust of Jackson Hole’s yearly project titled WyoView. My assigned conservation easement property was the Walton Ranch.  While a bit of the ranch can be seen while driving past on Highway 22, the property extends northwards in a breathtaking view.  While I was concerned that I would interfere with the current haying operation, which is a huge undertaking, Bill, the ranch manager, and his wife Carol, couldn’t have been more welcoming.  Though Bill said I could drive around on the roads through the property, I decided to walk, which would bring me closer to the land.  I observed views that I would have missed driving by.
It was heartachingly beautiful and I treasure the experience.  Ravens and hawks above, the smell of fresh mown hay, dazzling clouds, the Tetons gracing every turn, with thick cottonwood forest bordering the western edge by the Snake River. I realized how fortunate the valley is to have an easement on this property.
The most difficult part was deciding which view to focus on for only three paintings.  I mulled over this year’s WyoView mission of Wild, Open, Connected.  These individual characteristics were evident in all directions.  (I may have to continue painting beyond these three pieces.)
I hope you enjoy the paintings, hopefully living my experience, and will consider purchasing them to further the Jackson Hole Land Trust’s legacy of protecting open spaces, wildlife habitat, working lands, and community spaces across Northwest Wyoming that inspire current and future generations.
Wild Open Spaces
Wild Wings
Stewardship – The Human Connection