This newly protected conservation easement, lying just south of the Teton Valley Overlook on Highway 33, will stay undeveloped while remaining in private ownership of the family who homesteaded the property in the late 1800’s. Protection of the property preserves the unique rural character of Teton Basin by preserving one of the Valley’s earliest cattle ranches while also protecting traditional landowner values.
Not only does the conservation easement protect stunning views and local tradition, it preserves over one mile of Teton River frontage, lower portions of Spring Creek and tremendous wildlife habitat. Anglers and boaters floating the Teton south of Harrop’s bridge will be pleased to learn that this stretch of the River will remain free of residential and commercial development.
“I am thrilled,” said Karla Drewsen, Landowner Incentive Program Coordinator from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “I am very impressed with the Breckenridge family’s deep conviction to give back to the land that had supported them. Many funding partners came together to complete this tremendous project that protects elk winter range and other important resources”.
A variety of wildlife species of statewide and national significance call this property home including trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, long-billed curlew, Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, black-crowned night-heron and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. White-tailed deer, elk and moose are year-round residents on the property as well.
This is the second conservation easement for the Breckenridge Family. In 2007, they completed an 80-acre easement on Spring Creek which lies immediately east of the recently completed 198-acre easement at the confluence of Spring Creek and the Teton River.
The Teton Regional Land Trust has worked with many willing landowners in Teton Basin to protect nearly 10,000 acres of land with conservation easements. This includes 24 miles of the Teton River’s banks that are permanently protected by conservation easements.
The easement’s completion marks a major step in implementing the fifth $1,000,000 grant awarded and administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant program. The Teton Regional Land Trust anticipates bringing an additional 1,400 acres of protected property and restoration to Teton Basin, thanks to several landowners who have agreed to donate conservation easements on their land.
Teton Basin has been the focus of four prior North American Wetlands Conservation Act project phases that have facilitated the permanent protection of 6,000 acres of important wetland habitats and have leveraged approximately $37 million in matching conservation value. These grants have brought $4,000,000 to Teton Basin. This money has gone straight to local landowners and businesses to facilitate easements and restoration, boosting the local economy. With the fifth phase initiated, the Teton Regional Land Trust will add another $1,000,000 to Teton Basin’s economy by supporting a number of local businesses and landowners.
Other significant funding partners involved in completing the recent easement include the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Landowner Incentive Program administered by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game; the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Northwest Wildlife Conservation Initiative, designed to help conserve wildlife habitat identified in state wildlife action plans and administered by The Nature Conservancy; Ducks Unlimited; Bonneville Power Administration Mitigation Fund; neighbors and several Private Funders. Teton Regional Land Trust wishes to thank all partners that made this easement acquisition possible.