Atop the Pine Creek Bench near Swan Valley, you’ll find Delbert and June Winterfeld’s fields filled with native grasses and wildflowers with hues ranging from brilliant whites and deep greens to pale purples. 160 acres of the Winterfeld’s farm ground will forever be protected from development and will help ensure their native seed business continues to thrive. The 2nd generation Swan Valley family worked with Teton Regional Land Trust and Bureau of Land Management to preserve their property through a conservation easement finalized late last week.
The Winterfeld’s Cedera Seed grows upland grasses and flower seed used to restore lands across the region to their native vegetation.
The Winterfeld property provides habitat for sharp tailed grouse throughout the year and for big game as they migrate to and from their winter range.
“We’re doing this because we never wanted our land to be developed,” June Winterfeld said after signing the conservation easement. “We hope we can encourage our neighbors to do the same thing.”
ooking east from Rusty and Karen Vest’s property along Packsaddle Road you’ll take in a spectacular view of the Tetons. To the west, the Big Hole Mountains loom behind the willow-laden banks of the Teton River. Their 120 acre property and the adjacent 40 acres was once proposed and approved for a 12 lot subdivision complete with a commercial fishing lodge. This level of development would have had an impact on the river, the fishery, the active bald eagle nest, the big game, wintering trumpeter swans and certainly the scenery for the public using the Teton River. Fortunately for our community the Vests did not want to see the property developed. The Vests worked with the Teton Regional Land Trust in 2005 to craft a conservation easement to permanently protect the 120 acres along the Teton River.
Recently, the Vests purchased the additional 40 acres to the east of their existing property. The newly acquired acreage has been under conservation easement since 2004. The Vests decided to further protect the property’s conservation value by eliminating the possibility of development completely. The couple worked with the Land Trust to amend the 2004 conservation easement that originally allowed for one home on the 40 acres. The Vest’s amendment to the conservation easement now eliminates any development on the land. The amendment was recorded with the county last week.
eton Regional Land Trust truly appreciates a generous grant awarded by Teton Springs Foundation towards the purchase of a pickup truck. The truck will replace two older unreliable vehicles.
The vehicle will provide Teton Regional Land Trust with adequate equipment for meeting with potential easement donors, performing required easement visits, performing property maintenance tasks, hauling equipment and material to habitat restoration sites and taking conservation partners, members and donors on outreach tours.
The Teton Springs Foundation was established by the resort founders as a means for the community to benefit directly from the development's success. For each property sold in Teton Springs, the Teton Springs Foundation receives 1% of the value of the home site. Twice per year, the foundation grants funding requests to non-profit organizations serving the residents of Teton Valley. Teton Springs Foundation has funded 35 local nonprofit organizations for over $780,000.
“The Teton Valley nonprofit organizations are lucky to have such a generous program in the county,” said Teton Regional Land Trust Executive Director Chet Work. “We appreciate the Teton Springs Foundation’s support.”
Photo by Jeannette Boner of the Valley Citizen