THE BEST PART OF  DONATING, VOLUNTEERING OR WORKING FOR the Wood River Land Trust is that it’s easy to see the positive and important impact you’re making. All you have to do is spend a little time at one of our numerous local projects and you’re sure to see smiling families and friends of all ages, happy dog walkers, delighted fishing fans, and healthy wildlife.

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Local students help plant native shrubs at Elkhorn Creek. Photo by John Finnell

To help remind us of all the great work you and our amazing community has helped accomplish this year, here’s a rundown of some of the Land Trust 2016 highlights.

In January, we preserved 487 acres of important habitat for salmon, wildlife and historic agricultural lands at Ellis Ranch along the Salmon River.

In February, we teamed up with Trout Unlimited and several other partners to put on an event to help share the news from the recently completed Big Wood Watershed Assessment.

In March, we re-launched our popular Trout Friendly program, which included hosting numerous free educational events all spring and summer long for local landscaping companies as well as for the general public.

In April, we teamed up with the City of Hailey to certify people for the Water Smarty Rebate Program, which rewarded residents for remodeling their landscapes to cut down on water usage.

In May, the Land Trusts’ Student Conservation Council (SCC), which is comprised of local high school students, worked with WOW-Students to help plant native grasses at the Croy Creek wetlands. The Land Trust also teamed up with the WOW-Students from Ketchum’s Pioneer Montessori School, Wood River High and Middle schools and Hailey Elementary to complete projects at Elkhorn Creek and at both Hailey’s Draper Wood River Preserve and Bellevue’s Howard Preserve.

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Rock Creek Ranch. BY John Finnell

In June, we signed an agreement with University of Idaho’s Rangeland Center and The Nature Conservancy to study the impacts of grazing at Rock Creek Ranch and to take measures to restore the creek, which is an important tributary for the Big Wood River.

In July, we hosted the 2nd Annual Wood River Land Trust RiverFest, which included a concert and party for thousands of locals and visitors alike along the banks of the Big Wood River. The City of Hailey, Blaine County and the Wood River Valley’s Chamber of Commerce all helped us make this extremely popular event possible.

In August, we teamed up with Zions Bank to re-launched the new Heart of the Valley contest, and, as these pages show, the now monthly photo and seasonal writing contest has been extremely well received.

One of our September winners - Gadrie Edmunds! See her winning shot above.

One of our September HOV winners – Gadrie Edmunds!

In September, we continued to work with residents of Stanley about how to best manage the new 34 acre Valley Creek Preserve in the heart of town.

In October, several of our staff members went to Minnesota to attend Rally, the annual Land Trust Alliance conference. In front of a packed house of thousands of like-minded and impassioned land conservationists, the Wood River Land Trust was officially honored for passing the rigorous reaccreditation program.

In November, thanks to an incredible amount of support from the community, we purchased Colorado Gulch and then officially opened its 150 riverfront acres to the public.

In December, we helped secure land to expand the Howard Preserve in Bellevue by more than acre. The city of Bellevue and the Blaine County Commissioners are joining forces with us to make this happen.

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The Colorado Gulch wire cutting ceremony officially opened 150 riverside acres to the public!

Yes, the Land Trust helped make a lot of great things happen for the Wood River Valley this year, but there’s always more important work to do, work that will impact your friends, family and wildlife for generations to come. But we can’t do any of it without your help.

Whether you can volunteer or donate, anything you can do to help the Land Trust will make a big impact for our community, our river, our home.

(To find out more about the Land Trust or to get involved in any way, please call us at 208.788.3947 or stop by our offices at 119 East Bullion Street in Hailey.)

By Mike Mckenna

 

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Howard Preserve in Bellevue. By John Finnell