International Crane Expert, George Archibald, comes to Wydaho

evening with Cranes _ credit Annie Decker



















The Teton Regional Land Trust was honored to host Dr. George Archibald, world renowned crane expert and Co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, last week in Jackson, Wyoming.  Archibald gave his “Cranes, Grains and Gains” presentation at the National Wildlife Art Museum to a crowd of crane enthusiasts. The presentation shared the story of communities and conservationists working together to create partnerships that benefit family farms and cranes around the world.

Here in the Greater Yellowstone region, we are fortunate to have Sandhill cranes. Many bird conservation organizations identify Sandhill cranes as an important umbrella species.  These cranes are drivers for conservation initiatives because protecting them and their habitat provides benefits for other wildlife species. Cranes need expansive areas like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, secure wetlands—such as conservation easement properties, and connected agricultural lands to nest and rear their young. In fall, a large number flock throughout Teton Valley as they prepare for their migration south to New Mexico and Mexico.

Teton Valley provides crucial habitat for Sandhill cranes that summer and breed throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to complete their annual cycles. In fact, Teton Valley is the largest migration staging area for Sandhill Cranes in the entire GYE. “The Teton Valley Crane Project, led by the Land Trust and partners, aims to secure the future of Teton Valley’s critical Sandhill crane habitat by working with local farmers and landowners to provide grain food plots for cranes, as well as protect habitat through voluntary permanent land protection,” said Joselin Matkins, Teton Regional Land Trust Executive Director, “we were so honored to share this project with George.”

The future of cranes was once as fragile as the graceful birds themselves.  George Archibald’s visionary leadership in international conservation efforts over the past 40 years has encouraged worldwide crane conservation.  In 1973, when cranes were in a perilous situation and many were on the brink of extinction, Archibald, along with Cornell University colleague, Ronald Sauey, Ph.D., established the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in Baraboo, Wisconsin as the world center for the study and preservation of cranes.  Archibald is a true conservation ambassador who uses his unique brand of diplomacy to work in sensitive places.  He leverages the charisma of cranes to unite people from diverse cultures and countries to work together to preserve the landscapes necessary for the survival of both cranes and people.  To learn more about ICF, please visit:

For more information about this conservation easement or the Teton Regional Land Trust please call 208-354-8939 or visit



Bates Teton River Project

The Teton Regional Land Trust is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership working to improve public access and promote resource protection along the Teton River. Together with Teton County, Idaho, the Trust for Public Land, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and local non-profits including Friends of the Teton River, LegacyWorks Group, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development and the Community Foundation of Teton Valley, the Land Trust is partnering on the Bates Teton River Project to purchase, improve, and forever protect the Bates Bridge public access.

Flowing through Teton County, the Teton River is a prized fishery where people travel from all corners for their chance to catch a native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout or to simply relax while paddling the waters.  Purchasing the land was a great investment in our community, the local economy and our wildlife.

This project provides the opportunity for our community to come to protect one of the most popular public access sites on the Teton River, to improve the safety and parking of the river access, and to permanently protect the riverbanks and surrounding wetlands, wildlife habitat, and agricultural land from residential development and other incompatible uses.

The Trust for Public Land is facilitating the purchase with the intent of transferring ownership to Teton County. The County will own the parcel with a portion of the property designated for recreational use by the public, and the remainder forever protected for its ecological, agricultural, and open space values through a conservation easement. The land trust will work with Teton County to ensure the conservation values are upheld. These portions will stay wild and protected forever.

The new public access site will be located on the north side of Bates Road will include an enlarged boat ramp, ample parking, restrooms, informational kiosks and areas for families to picnic and play.  Once the improvements are complete, the existing access and parking areas will be decommissioned and restored.

As we take a moment to celebrate the 80 acre purchase, there is still a lot of work to be done. We look forward to keeping you updated in the year ahead on how you can help.



Trumpeter Swan Project

Trumpeter Swans are one of our region’s most iconic birds and embody the extraordinary landscape we call home. Trumpeters are the largest waterfowl species native to North America, and in addition to being visually magnificent, they exhibit highly cognizant behavior, strong family bonds, and can to live up to 25 years old in the wild. In the Greater Yellowstone region, Trumpeters can be seen and heard near ponds, rivers, and streams year-round.

Once abundant throughout North America, Trumpeter Swans were hunted heavily for their hides and feathers from the 17th through 19th centuries. By the early 1900’s, Trumpeter Swans were thought to be extinct. In 1932, 69 Trumpeters found at Red Rock Lakes, Montana were thought to be the last remaining Trumpeter Swans in existence. Thanks to swift conservation efforts, Trumpeter populations have risen to stable numbers throughout most of their range.

Trumpeter Swans continue to face a number of threats. In Teton Valley and across the globe, many wetlands have been drained or filled, negatively impacting countless wildlife species, including Trumpeters. In addition, declining beaver populations throughout the Greater Yellowstone region have furthered wetland resource losses. Currently, the Greater Yellowstone Trumpeter Swan nesting population is struggling due to lack of habitat. Biologists are seeing fewer nesting trumpeter swan pairs in our region, and even fewer successful nests.

Teton Regional Land Trust has worked with families and other conservation groups over the past 25 years to conserve over 33,000 acres in East Idaho, including 11,000 acres in Teton Valley. The successes of our wetland protection and restoration program, combined with Teton Basin’s strategic location, have created a unique opportunity to reestablish Trumpeter Swan nesting in Teton Valley, and enhance Trumpeter nesting throughout the Greater Yellowstone region.

In 2013, TRLT teamed up with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Wyoming Wetlands Society, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Trumpeter Swan Society, and a local family to release Trumpeter Swans onto a protected wetland in an attempt to establish a nesting population in Teton Valley.

On May 6th, TRLT and partners will be continuing this exciting endeavor by releasing 5 yearling Trumpeter Swans in Teton Valley. Please join in on the excitement by clicking here to view our released Trumpeter Swans on our Web Camera before they migrate! The 2016 released Trumpeters will be wearing green neck collars with white lettering, so please help us on our look out! We have a Trumpeter Swan Observation Form here, and we encourage all to use it to help keep us informed of any Trumpeter Swan sightings.

If you want to support the continuation of this project, please consider giving on Thursday May, 5th through Idaho Gives! Visit Join us at MarCellar’s Wine and Brew, 431 Park Avenue in Idaho Falls from 5:30-8 pm on Thursday, May 5th to celebrate.

TRLT’s mission is to conserve working farms and ranches, critical fish and wildlife habitat, and scenic landscapes in Eastern Idaho for present and future generations. Always feel free to stop by our office at 1520 S. 500 W. in Driggs and open 9-5 weekdays, or give us a call at 208-354-8939 for more information on the Trumpeter Swan reintroduction, conservation efforts, volunteer opportunities, programs, events and more.

Teton Regional Land Trust Announces New Executive Director

The staff and Board of Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) are proud to announce Joselin Matkins as their new Executive Director. TRLT received over 68 applications for the position and took on a three-part interview process that lasted almost five months. In the end, the Teton Regional Land Trust Board of Directors unanimously selected Matkins to be the new leader of the organization.

Matkins brings 14 years of land trust experience to TRLT. She served for five years as the Executive Director of Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust in Pocatello, Idaho and has served as the president of the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts (ICOLT) since 2009. For the last two years, Joselin worked for TRLT as the Land Protection Director where she established strong relationships with landowners, supporters, and partners, completed several conservation projects, and led the organization’s reaccreditation application which was awarded in February 2015.

Matkins will fill the role previously held by Chet Work, who left TRLT for an opportunity to serve as the Executive Director of The Land Trust of Santa Barbara County. Throughout the hiring process, Tamara Sperber served as the Interim Executive Director and Matkins will take over as Executive Director effective March 16, 2015. This transition comes at an exciting time for TRLT as they are celebrating their silver anniversary and recently surpassed 32,000 acres of protected, farms, ranches, and critical wildlife habitat in east Idaho. TRLT is very excited about their accomplishments and looks forward to even greater success in the years to come.

“It is such an honor to be selected to lead such a prestigious organization. This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.  I am excited to step into the role as Teton Regional Land Trust celebrates 25 years of conservation success in east Idaho. I look forward to building on that success with one of the best land trusts in the country. Together with our great board, staff and community we can continue to be a leader in the protection of the intrinsic values that draw so many to our special corner of Idaho”, Joselin Matkins, Executive Director Teton Regional Land Trust.

Matkins received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Colorado. She started her land trust journey as an intern with the Wood River Land Trust before returning to graduate school at Oregon State University. There she received her Master of Science degree from the College of Forestry, Department of Forestry and Ecosystems and Society.

“As a fourth generation Idahoan who knows us, and knows our special landscape, Joselin is the perfect person to lead our efforts to conserve our place for present and future generations,” Tim Hopkins, TRLT Board of Directors President. 

Matkins’ family homesteaded in Roberts, Idaho before settling near Mud Lake.   Matkins was born in Pocatello and grew up in the Wood River Valley.   Her personal interests easily align with TRLT’s mission of protecting critical land in east Idaho. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and floating local rivers.

The Teton Regional Land Trust will be introducing Matkins as the new Executive Director to the community, land trust members, and landowners throughout the region this spring and summer. For your chance to meet Matkins in her new capacity, please visit the TRLT website or follow us on Facebook for the announcement of upcoming events.

The Teton Regional Land Trust works to preserve important agricultural lands and fish and wildlife habitat in Eastern Idaho for the benefit of present and future generations. For more information about Teton Regional Land Trust, please call 208-354-8939 or stop by the office at 1520 South 500 West, Driggs, Idaho 83422.

180 Acres of Critical Habitat Conserved

The Teton Regional Land Trust recently partnered with the LOR Foundation and other private donors to permanently protect 180 acres of land on Sage Creek Ranch north of Tetonia, ID. The property is adjacent to Teton Regional Land Trust’s Petzoldt Preserve at the headwaters of Spring Creek near Hatch’s Corner, the north end of Teton County.

This beautiful piece of land is part of the Spring Creek Marsh, a large wetland area that hosts a wide variety of plant and animal species. Conserving this property adds an additional 50 acres of protected wetlands to those already protected by the Petzoldt Preserve, and 140 acres of upland pasture and native sagebrush shrub land are protected from future residential development. Conserving this property provides scenic open space and critical wildlife habitat for members of the general public, forever.

Spring Creek flows south through the property and then west gathering waters from Middle and North Leigh Creeks before entering the Teton River about eight miles downstream. The wetlands that feed Spring Creek cover an area of about 300 acres and provide important nesting and foraging habitat for Sandhill cranes. Conserving the Spring Creek wetland has added a significant measure of protection for these beautiful, iconic birds. The property also provides foraging and winter habitat for Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse, a bird listed as aSpecies of Greatest Conservation Need by the Idaho Fish and Game in 2005.

The Spring Creek Property and its associated wetlands and uplands provide excellent foraging habitat for a number of raptors as well. Birds seen on the property include the Great-horned Owl, Short-eared Owl, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Rough Legged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk and Swainson’s Hawk. Mammals that inhabit the property include the badger, red fox, white-tail deer, mule deer, and coyote. Spring Creek also provides habitat for both Eastern brook trout and for Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Forever protecting this critical wetland habitat will ensure that these mammals, birds, and fish continue to thrive in this spectacular piece of land in Eastern Idaho.

“Preservation of this quality biological marsh is fundamental to maintaining the nature of the West Slope Valley of the Tetons. The Goble and Caspari families are proud to partner with the Teton Land Trust in attempting to preserve, forever, what attracts all of us to this special place.” – E. Marlowe Goble, property owner.

“It was my pleasure to work with landowners to protect critical wetland habitat, while maintaining sustainable ranching practices and scenic open space. The protection of this property builds on the nearly 11,000 acres or wildlife habitat and working farms and ranches protected in Teton Valley by the Land Trust,” – Joselin Matkins, Land Protection Director.

The Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) works to preserve important agricultural lands and fish and wildlife habitat in eastern Idaho for the benefit of present and future generations. TRLT worked with private donors and the LOR Foundation out of Jackson, Wyoming to make this transaction a reality. The LOR Foundation seeks to enhance liveability of the inter-mountain west by promoting efficient and sustainable land uses, context sensitive transportation choices, and cultural and recreational amenities, as a means to strengthen community, inform land use decisions, and preserve open spaces.

To date, the Teton Regional Land Trust has conserved over 31,000 acres in the Upper Snake River Valley. For more information about land conservation or the Teton Regional Land Trust please visit or call 208-354-8939.