Jack Creek Easement Protects 280 Acres
The Green River Valley Program of the Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) secured a new 280-acre conservation easement along Sublette County’s Jack Creek, building on three generations of stewardship to protect agricultural heritage, Wyoming’s big game migrations, and essential open space just northeast of Bondurant.
Protected in perpetuity on November 22, 2021, the unique topography and location of the Jack Creek easement support livestock grazing and a mosaic of diverse habitat types, including open grassland, riparian willow shrubland, wetland, sage-steppe, and stands of mixed aspen and conifer forest. Thanks to the Mack family, who purchased the ranch in 1948, the ranching operation is carefully managed with sustainable practices, efforts that are noticeable in the health of the land.
“I’ve spent my summers on this ranch since I was a teen and have always loved the balance between our cattle and the abundant wildlife that also needed this land,” said Jo Mack, rancher and wildlife artist. “Our family finds value in preserving part of the migration corridor for wildlife while allowing grazing for the domestic animals that are part of our ranching heritage.”
Working lands play an integral role in preserving the open spaces which sustain Wyoming’s wildlife. Surrounded by the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the ranch lies at the northern end of the 150-mile Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration corridor. In addition to mule deer, the property also supports pronghorn and elk migrations and provides crucial winter habitat for moose. The legacy of ranching and agricultural stewardship in Sublette County has ensured that big game species can still follow their historic movements across the landscape. The new conservation easement protects these uses in perpetuity, which in turn will help the culture and tradition of working lands in the region continue to thrive.
Conservation of this property contributes to the ecological viability of the Jack Creek basin and Hoback River corridor by protecting headwaters and providing habitat for important species, including native cutthroat trout. Approximately 1.25 miles of Jack Creek run through the ranch, combining with several freshwater springs to create almost 60 acres of wetlands. Coupled with open pastureland, the riparian corridor provides prime habitat for a variety of native birds like great blue herons, neotropical migrant songbirds, sandhill cranes, waterfowl, and shorebirds.
“Jack Creek is incredibly important to our regional wildlife populations, and it is also an important part of the vibrant ranching community around Bondurant,” said Jackson Hole Land Trust Max Ludington. “We are thrilled to partner with the Mack family on this very important conservation easement. The Mack family has thoughtfully stewarded this property for over 70 years and this easement ensures the key conservation and agricultural values they have worked hard to preserve will be protected in perpetuity.”
The easement would not have been possible without our generous funding partners: the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, North American Wetland Conservation Act with funds allocated through a partnership with Ducks Unlimited, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Knobloch Family Foundation, and the Joe Albracht Memorial Migration Fund. In addition to the public funding, the landowner generously donated a portion of the easement’s value.
Photo: Zach Andres