Big Wood Home Rivers Initiative
Date of Project:  2014 to Present
Partners: Trout Unlimited
The Wood River Land Trust and Trout Unlimited are collaborating to achieve critical large-scale river and watershed protection goals in the Wood River Valley through the Home Rivers Initiative. In an effort to improve and maintain the health of the Big Wood River and its tributaries, the partners assess and improve the status of the Valley’s river system through a comprehensive analysis and implementation. We are at a critical time for translating scientific knowledge into actions on a strategic and broad scale— creating a healthy watershed for the benefit of the public and that of plants, fish and wildlife.
The time to act is now. Our rivers and streams are resilient and yet they face constant pressures from natural and man-made disturbances. You need to only look at the murky color of the Big Wood River from the mudslides of the Beaver Creek fire to see the enormous amount of siltation being carried downstream. These occurrences will have long-term effects on our fishery, our local economy, and our health. The Wood River Land Trust is currently working on a comprehensive strategy with Trout Unlimited, which brings their national experience to bear on our regional issues.
The vision of the Home Rivers Initiative is to create a sustainable waterscape for local communities. Such an outcome would provide ongoing natural benefits to residents and visitors including: clean water; natural biodiversity; productive agriculture and working lands; and recreational opportunities.
For decades these benefits have attracted people to Wood River Valley and enhanced the quality of life in the region. Now, however, we risk losing these benefits from increasing threats to the watershed, including current drought conditions, population growth, and the effects of a changing climate. The Home Rivers Initiative is a strong example of how preserving the health of the Big Wood River and its tributaries can help both people and nature thrive.
Big Wood Home Rivers Initiative Click to Read More...
Bluff Parcel
Acres Protected: 3
Date Acquired: 2003
Public Access:
Partners: Bluff Homeowners Association, Sun Valley Elkhorn Association, and the City of Sun Valley
When a three-acre parcel came onto the market near the heart of Elkhorn in Sun Valley, Wood River Land Trust worked with nearby homeowners’ associations and the City of Sun Valley to protect this beautiful native landscape in the midst of development.
Together, the project partners raised the necessary funds in a relatively short time frame. As the final step in the protection process, permanent development restrictions were placed on the land and the parcel was turned over to the Sun Valley Elkhorn Association to be managed with their other open space holdings. This project is a great example of the community coming together to protect locally important open spaces that will be enjoyed by the community forever.
Bluff Parcel Click to Read More...

Bow Bridge of the Big Wood River
Date Acquired:  2012
Public Access: Yes

Bow Bridge Hailey IdahoFunded through the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Bow Bridge of the Big Wood River was inaugurated during the fall of 2012.  The Bow Bridge is a pedestrian bridge which spans 160-feet over the Big Wood River, connecting the east and west sides of the Draper Wood River Preserve and the Hailey Greenway. The public can now walk the trails of the Preserve and cross the river to Lions Park, connecting with the Blaine County Recreation District's Nordic trails, along with trails on Carbonate Mountain.

The Bow Bridge is one piece in the Land Trust's Hailey Greenway Restoration Project. TheC.2.c.3 Bow Bridge icon or page photo option river has been straightened south of Bullion Bridge to reduce flooding in nearby neighborhoods, and an oxbow in the historic river channel had been filled with 80 years of trash, including pre-solvents and other toxins. Six-hundred cubic yards of material were sifted out of the former dump area, with 90 percent of the inert material being used for restoration, including a path to the Bow Bridge. The new makeup of soil was designed to promote native plants and increase wildlife habitat. 

C.2.c.3 Bow Bridge icon photo (c)SJO PhotographyThe Bow Bridge is an integral part of our objective to allow people to experience nature, as the bridge itself is a draw for our community and visitors alike to experience the Hailey Greenway. As people visit special places, they begin to take ownership and pride in the health of the area, thus helping the Land Trust manage it. We hope this connection with nature will inspire our community and Wood River Valley visitors to become more involved with land protection and restoration.

Bow Bridge of the Big Wood River Click to Read More...
Bullion Bridge
Acres Protected: 
Date Acquired:  2004 to 2005
Public Access:
Partners: City of Hailey
C.2.c.4 Bullion Bridge page photoAfter two years of planning by Wood River Land Trust and the City of Hailey, it took just four days to remove the century-old Bullion Bridge abutment near the entrance to Croy Canyon, west of Hailey.  The old bridge abutment had not been removed when the existing Bullion Bridge was built in the 1970’s, and prior to the Clean Water Act, snow removal crews used to back their trucks onto the old abutment and dump the snow directly into the Big Wood River.  Included in the snow were sediments, oil, and other pollutants from city streets, which quickly made their way into the sensitive environment.  Additionally, many OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtrucks used an adjacent area to spill excess cement, compounding the impact on the area.  When the Land Trust was able to clean up this location, it was a big success for the whole community.
Bullion Bridge Click to Read More...
Croy Creek Wetland Boardwalk
Date Acquired:  2007 to 2011
Public Access: Yes
Conservation Values:
The Croy Creek Wetland Boardwalk is an extraordinary feature in the Wood River Valley. The Boardwalk provides an opportunity for visitors to appreciate this sensitive area, while protecting the wetland from human incursion and damage. Because wetlands are not typically accessible, the Land Trust built the Boardwalk in hopes of raising awareness of the importance of a wetland’s diverse habitat that protects wildlife and water quality.
Croy Creek Wetland Boardwalk Click to Read More...
Elkhorn Creek Restoration
Project Dates: 1998 to 2003
Public Access: Yes – bike path
Partners: City of Sun Valley
From 1998 to 2003, Wood River Land Trust partnered with the City of Sun Valley, BLM, and the Lane Ranch Homeowners Association to coordinate a restoration project on Elkhorn Creek. The goals of the project included increasing water quality and water storage capacity, and improving wildlife habitat, but several other results were also realized. These results included greater functioning of the Sunrise pond, increased beaver dam impoundments along the creek, and the restoration of healthy trout populations that had been absent for over 40 years!
Wood River Land Trust will be working on another restoration project downstream of this project during 2015.  (link to D.2.b)
Elkhorn Creek Restoration Click to Read More...
Hailey Greenway
Public Access: Yes
Partners: City of Hailey
Conservation Values:
The Hailey Greenway is a vision of the Wood River Land Trust to connect several miles of habitat and trails along the Big Wood River in and through the City. By stitching together the Land Trust’s Draper Wood River Preserve with land under conservation easements, as well as land owned by public entities like the City of Hailey, the Hailey Greenway forms a large swath of protected land that is accessible to the community and protected for wildlife. The major components of the Greenway include the Draper Wood River Preserve, Lions Park, Riverside Pond, and the Colorado Gulch conservation easements.

Heart Tree
C.2.c.6.a heart tree page photoThe Heart Tree is a beloved spot within the Draper Wood River Preserve.  For years now, people have brought heart-shaped rocks from around the world to this place to leave them at the base of the tree.
Hailey Greenway Click to Read More...
Lions Park
Public Access: Yes
Partners: City of Hailey
Over the years, the Big Wood River has been straightened in many sections, but particularly south of Bullion Bridge, to reduce flooding in nearby neighborhoods. Where there once was an oxbow in the historic river channel, it had been filled with 80 years’ worth of trash, including pre-solvents and other toxins. The Land Trust undertook an ambitious project to restore this area, formerly relegated to the status of “dump.”  Six hundred cubic yards of material were sifted out of the former dump area, with 90 percent of the inert material being used for restoration, including a path to the Bow Bridge. The new makeup of soil is intended to promote native plants and increase wildlife habitat. 

There have been several additional restoration projects on Lions Park, and through them a strong working relationship has been formed with the City of Hailey.  This unique, and well-loved area, provides many opportunities for community conservation.  We often have school groups conducting hands-on research, participating in nature studies and surveys, or helping us with restoration projects such as planting native species.
Lions Park Restoration Click to Read More...
Osberg Trail
Date Completed: 2011
Public Access: Yes
Partners: John and Gloria Osberg
C.2.c.16 Osberg Ridgeline Trail page photo 1(c)DJMuehle_001Wood River Land Trust, Idaho Conservation League and US Forest Service Ketchum Ranger District honored Gloria Moore Osberg and her commitment to protecting the environment by naming a spectacular ridgeline trail after her. The christened Gloria Moore Osberg Ridgeline Trail #147 is a 10-mile stretch of trail between Fox Peak and the Baker Lake trailhead. Gloria Moore Osberg was honored on July 2, 2011. It was a beautiful day and a memorable occasion at the Osberg’s Newman Creek Cabin.
Gloria’s contributions to conservation and a shared appreciation of our surrounding landscapes haveC.2.c.16 Osberg Ridgeline Trail page photo 3 been a lifelong commitment. Her invaluable book, Day Hiking Near Sun Valley, is a staple in homes around the Wood River Valley. The local subject and unique design of her first book—a small binder with removable pages—makes this book indispensible for exploring our mountains. 
C.2.c.16 Osberg Ridgeline Trail page photo 4Gloria and her husband John have supported the Wood River Land Trust over the years and remain two of our best friends.
Osberg Trail Click to Read More...
River Park at Sun Peak (Hulen Meadows Floodplain Restoration)
Date:  2008 to Present
Public Access: Yes
Partners:
The Big Wood River is one of the most central features of the Wood River Valley. The river and its floodplain contain habitat for fish and wildlife, provide recreational opportunities, and support agricultural and residential uses. Since 1943, the river has unnaturally straightened and has lost approximately1.7 miles in length. In 2006, Wood River Land Trust began working with the City of Ketchum, the Bureau of Land Management, and the community on a restoration and recreation plan for an altered section of the Big Wood River north of Ketchum on public lands. The river was most recently altered during a highway realignment project in the early 1990s, and several sediment traps were created to capture migrating sediment and bed load. One sediment trap has become a multi-use recreational amenity for the community and is commonly referred to as “Hulen Meadows Pond.”
Over time, sediment has accumulated in the inflow channel to Hulen Meadows Pond. This prevents the delivery of fresh, oxygenated water into the pond and forces migrating sediment and bed load downstream, intensifying flooding events in developed areas. Flooding often causes emergency stream bank hardening, which can lead to river straightening and shortening. Several drop structures were originally created to help control water velocity and allow the river to more naturally meander. These have not been maintained and are failing. 

In 2008, the Land Trust and the City began an application with the BLM for a patent that would allow the City, in partnership with the Land Trust, to manage and maintain approximately 315 acres of land, including Hulen Meadows Pond. The City and the Land Trust plan to restore Hulen Meadows Pond in a way that accommodates recreational users and the community. A task force that includes multiple stakeholders and community members has been assembled to guide restoration efforts. 
A Master Plan has been conceptually designed by engineers and whitewater park designers, and continues to develop from recommendations of the task force and the public. Restoration would include opening the inflow channel to Hulen Meadows Pond, allowing the river to meander and deposit sediment. Drop structures will also be enhanced to decrease water velocity and add river length, creating fish habitat and recreational whitewater features. The Master Plan and resulting restoration aims to create a community-based solution that enhances floodplain function and fish and wildlife habitat, alleviates downstream flooding severity, and incorporates recreational elements for local residents and visitors now and for future generations.
River Park at Sun Peak Click to Read More...
Riverside Pond
Acres Protected: 1.87
Project Dates:  2002 to 2004
Public Access: Yes
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARiverside Pond at Heagle Park is now a fun place to relax! In 2002, the Wood River Land Trust cleaned up the Riverside Waste Treatment Facility site to create the Riverfront Pond as another piece of the Hailey Greenway Project. This effort protected a corridor of land along the Big Wood River as it flows through the Wood River Valley. The cottonwood forest that lines the riverbanks is a natural magnet for wildlife in the midst of a sagebrush desert. The river is also a primary recreation area for residents and visitors, popular for fishing, observing nature, and other outdoor activities. 
Riverside Pond Click to Read More...
Rock Creek Ranch
Acres Protected:  10,394
Date Acquired:  2014
Public Access: Yes
Partners: Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Rinker Trust & Rock Creek LLC
C.2.c.11 Rock Creek page photo ©DJMuehleOne of the largest undeveloped properties in the Wood River Valley, Rock Creek Ranch, is now conserved for wildlife, clean water and public access thanks to the efforts of Wood River Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, local landowners, other public agencies and community groups. The project illustrates the power of partnerships and leveraging public and private funding to achieve conservation at a larger scale.
Owned by the Rinker Trust and Rock Creek LLC, Wood River Land Trust and The Nature C.2.c.11 Rock Creek Ranch page photo (c)John Finnell (1)Conservancy purchased the ranch at a fraction of its fair market value in an effort to conserve it for future generations. Ranch brokerage Hall and Hall facilitated the sale. The Rinkers’ work to preserve the ranch started with a conservation easement purchased by the Natural Resources Conservation Service to protect sage-grouse habitat and grazing land. Funding for the Grassland Reserve Program easement came from the agency’s Sage Grouse Initiative.
MooseC.2.c.11 Rock Creek Ranch page photo (c)John Finnell (4)
Rock Creek Ranch Click to Read More...
Sheep Bridge
Acres Protected:  306
Project Dates:  2007-2012
Public Access: Yes
Partners: John McDonald, BLM
Protecting Sheep Bridge Canyon from development maintains a link for wildlife between the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and the vast sagebrush steppe landscape surrounding Magic Reservoir.  The land also connects public lands managed by the Idaho Department of Fish & Game and the Bureau of Land Management.  Sheep Bridge Canyon is covered by sagebrush and other native vegetation that provide habitat for wildlife, and it also contains nearly a mile of the Big Wood River upstream from Magic Reservoir.
The property was acquired by Wood River Land Trust in 2007, and was conveyed to BLM ownership in 2012 as part of a larger land swap to protect inholdings and additional land.
Sheep Bridge Click to Read More...
Square Lake
Acres Protected: 320
Project Date:  2004-2012
Public Access: Yes
Partners: Dan Brown, BLM
C.2.c.13 Square Lake page photoSquare Lake, south of Timmerman Hill, is a property that is dominated by sagebrush, but contains a small seasonal lake and has historically been utilized for grazing.  The property also contains a sage grouse mating ground known as a lek. In recent decades, sage grouse populations have declined drastically in the Intermountain West due to the loss of critical sagebrush habitat.  The property is also completely surrounded by BLM land, making it an inholding.
Wood River Land Trust acquired the property in 2004, with the intention of conveying ownership to BLM when the time became appropriate.  In 2012, the opportunity arrived, and the Land Trust conveyed the property to the BLM and was able to protect additional land through the transaction.
Square Lake Click to Read More...
Stennet Public Fishing Access
Project Date:  2000 - 2002
Public Access: Yes
Partners: Senators Clint & Michelle Stennet & Idaho Department of Fish and Game
In December 2000, Senator Clint Stennet and his wife, Michelle, donated 0.7 acres of land along the Big Lost River near Mackay to Wood River Land Trust.  The land, which was to become only the second public fishing access point on the river upstream of Mackay Reservoir, was conveyed to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to accomplish that goal.  Now managed permanently as a recreation site, this generous gift provides outdoor and fishing experiences in a beautiful setting for many people.
Stennet Public Fishing Access Click to Read More...
Timbered Dome
Acres Protected:  1,609
Date Acquired:  2010
Public Access: No
Partners: Southeast Idaho Mule Deer Foundation, Idaho Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife, Triple M Land and Cattle, LLC
C.2.c.15 Timbered Dome page photo (2)Located approximately 10 miles west of the town of Arco and just east of Craters of the Moon National Monument lies Timbered Dome Ranch.  Sagebrush and grasses are the dominant vegetation on the property, except near the summit of Timbered Dome where various species of pine trees grow, giving the property its name.  The ranch is bordered by BLM and private lands and is a critical migratory corridor for elk, deer and pronghorn.  Recently, it has had wintering herds of approximately 250 elk and 500 mule deer. 

Timbered Dome provides year-round habitat for elk, chukar, raptors, pygmy rabbit, mule deer, and migratory songbirds.  The property also provides habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse and their leks (mating grounds) on and near the property.  Sage-Grouse and pygmy rabbits are highly vulnerable to a loss in sagebrush-steppe habitat, and Timbered Dome offers ideal habitat for their populations.  Sage-Grouse are candidates for endangered species protection, and pygmy rabbits are a species of concern in Idaho.
Timbered Dome was acquired by the Wood River Land Trust in 2010.  Through working with the neighboring landowner, permanent protection of this property and the neighboring ranch was accomplished through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Grassland Reserve Program and private conservation easements.  Funding for the Grassland Reserve Program came from the agency’s Sage-Grouse Initiative, which focuses on protecting and improving Sage-Grouse habitat.
Timbered Dome contributes to a larger partnership, the Pioneers Alliance. This Alliance is a group effort of private and public agencies who are working to protect thousands of acres in the Pioneer Mountain range.
Timbered Dome Click to Read More...

Wood River Land Trust continues to be involved in many projects.

Our projects protect and restore land, in ways other than owning it as a preserve or by holding a conservation easement. Some examples of these projects include restoration work, community conservation, or facilitating transfer of ownership to the appropriate entities.