We are thrilled to share with you a momentous milestone – the celebration of the Land Trust’s 100th conservation project in Teton County, ID. This adds to another milestone reached earlier this summer, when we surpassed 40,000 acres protected in our service area here in eastern Idaho. Over the years, the Teton Regional Land Trust has been dedicated to protecting the waters, wetlands, working farms and ranches, and wildlife habitat of this unique region.
This history is a testament to the power of community, dedication, and a shared passion for conservation. It all began with a small group of farmers, ranchers, and conservation-minded individuals who saw the importance of protecting precious resources for future generations. Through their vision and your unwavering support, we have achieved incredible results.
In the early 1990’s, the Land Trust’s founding executive director Michael Whitfield forged a friendship with a newcomer to the valley. Lew Mithun shared Michael’s passion for the area, and he had engaged with a realtor to find the most valuable property for nature in the valley to purchase and protect. In 1995, after months of negotiation, Lew executed the first voluntary conservation agreement with the Land Trust. Lew would go on to donate an additional easement, protecting the entirety of Six Springs Ranch, which, with another easement, spans from Highway 33 to the Teton River, protecting 850 acres along Teton Creek. In the Land Trust’s infancy, Lew’s faith in the Land Trust and the durability of conservation agreements was remarkable. The Mithuns have been some of the longest supporters of the Land Trust, and they remain some of our dearest friends in conservation. Sadly, Lew died peacefully on September 14 surrounded by loved ones. Our deepest heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Jill, and Lew’s family and friends.
Just last week, another visionary landowner worked with the Land Trust to complete a conservation agreement. With the help of the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program’s Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP ALE), the Heart of the Rockies Initiative’s Keep It Connected program, the Kendeda Fund, the Richard G. Grundler Teton Valley Conservation Fund, the Mithun Family Foundation’s JKL Fund, and the estate of Ronald C. Rope, Boyd Bowles donated a conservation agreement on 192 acres of his property at the mouth of Darby Canyon. As land prices skyrocket across the West, reducing the development value on farmland through conservation easements can help make land more attainable for future farmers. In this case, Mr. Bowles plans to sell the protected property to a local farmer. It will forever be protected as farmland, enjoyed as open space, and provide scenic views from the Aspen Trail. This conservation agreement is the 100th conservation project completed in Teton County, Idaho in partnership with the Teton Regional Land Trust.
We invite you to celebrate with us on October 4. We will acknowledge Mr. Bowles, the vision and generous life of Lew Mithun, and dedication of all the landowners, collaboration of partners, and commitment to protect nature, agricultural lands, and open spaces that benefit everyone in our community. These milestones could not have happened without your continued generous support and for that we are so grateful. This is a direct result from your generosity and investment in our work. If you are interested in joining us for this celebration and easement tour, please RSVP here.
From the establishment of our first conservation easement to the careful stewardship of diverse landscapes, your Land Trust has grown and evolved. Each project, whether it’s safeguarding critical wildlife habitats, ensuring access to recreational spaces, or preserving the cultural heritage of our area, has left an indelible mark on the landscape and in our hearts. The protection of more than 40,000 acres across eastern Idaho through more than 150 conservation projects has only been possible with your support.
In keeping with the continued vision to protect these landscapes, the Hamill Family Foundation has generously offered a challenge to increase our impact throughout eastern Idaho. Your gift to the Teton Regional Land Trust, above and beyond your historic annual gift, will be doubled this year. We ask that you continue to support the work of the Land Trust, so we can complete the next 100 projects that will benefit this and future generations.
Let’s come together to celebrate conservation on October 4th and look ahead to the next projects with hope and determination.
Teton Regional Land Trust