A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and Wood River Land Trust that protects the conservation values of the property.

The agreement allows a landowner to continue to own and use their land, and the land can still be passed on to heirs or sold. When a landowner enters into a conservation easement, they voluntarily give up some of the rights associated with owning land. The terms of the conservation easement are agreed upon in a collaborative process that meets the needs of the landowner and the Land Trust. For example, the easement on Barbara Farm protects prime farmland and water resources by limiting certain practices and some development rights. This allows the landowners to continue organic farming and ranching, consistent with the terms of the easement designed to protect conservation values. These limitations are in perpetuity (binding forever), and future owners are also bound by the agreement’s terms. The Land Trust is responsible for ensuring that the terms of the easement are followed.
A landowner may donate a conservation easement to the Land Trust or sell it. If a donation benefits the public and meets other federal tax code requirements, it may qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation.

Acres Protected:  2,667
Date Acquired:  2007
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, John Manetta & Kathryn McQuade
Antelope Valley Ranch is a working cattle ranch and a haven for wildlife, located 14 miles south of Mackay, just over the Pioneer Mountains from the Wood River Valley.  This unfragmented area supports large carnivores and iconic species including pronghorn, sage-grouse, mule deer, elk, wolves, mountain lions, black bears, mountain goats, and wolverine.  The conservation easement ensures that the land can remain a working cattle operation while also protecting habitat for wildlife.  The Ranch is bisected by Antelope Creek, a tributary of the Big Lost River, and contains several smaller creeks and springs that are frequented by resident and migrating wildlife.
Antelope Valley Click to
Acres Protected:  534
Date Acquired:  2005 & 2007
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Judy & Fred Brossy
Judy and Fred Brossy of Barbara Farm have gone beyond simply using organic practices to protect the natural and agricultural landscape.  Between 2005 and 2007, they facilitated two conservation easements on their farm, totaling 534 acres of prime farmland, rangeland, wildlife habitat, and wide open space.  Barbara Farm provides seasonal homes for a number of wildlife species that require sagebrush for survival, including Greater Sage-Grouse.  It also ensures that animals can roam freely between the proposed wilderness areas on public land adjacent to Barbara Farm and the Little Wood River.  Barbara Farm’s wild denizens include birds of prey, mule deer, songbirds, upland game birds, and a variety of small mammals.  Prevention of residential development will permit limited grazing to continue, maintain scenic views, support native pollinators, and avoid potential conflicts between different uses on the land.  Preserving these farmlands also ensures communities in the Wood River Valley and beyond can continue to enjoy delicious local produce.
Barbara Farm Click to
Acres Protected:  160
Date Acquired:  2008
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Larry & Nan Stone
Located near the mountain town of May, Big Springs Creek and another unnamed tributary of the Pahsimeroi River flow across the property, creating 74 acres of riparian habitat.  This type of habitat is important for wildlife such as mule deer, bald eagle, and long-billed curlew. The Big Springs conservation easement is also the first Land Trust project to benefit three species of trout and salmon that are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act: bull trout, Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. In addition to providing habitat for wildlife, the scenic views provide a backdrop to the agricultural practices on the property.
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Acres Protected:  191
Date Acquired:  2012
Public Access: No
Partners: Donors, Triple M Land & Cattle, LLC
Champagne Creek Ranch is located at the base of the Pioneers Mountains near the Craters of the Moon National Monument, and is an area recognized for its important wildlife, agricultural, and cultural attributes.  The conservation easement area is along one of the longest documented migration corridors for pronghorn, and is part of a larger effort to promote changes in fencing practices in order to improve that migration.
Champagne Creek Ranch Click to
Acres Protected:  26
Date Acquired:  1999
Public Access: Along Big Wood River
Partners: Donor, John Chapman, & Landowners, George and Rita Golleher
Cloverly Ranch contains 26 acres of forested riparian habitat north of Hailey, and is visible from The Sawtooth Scenic Byway. This area provides vital wintering habitat for elk, mule deer, and moose, and is potential habitat for North American wolverine, a species listed under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, this conservation easement protects a portion of the Big Wood River that has been identified as high priority trout habitat. Protecting the floodplain and riparian corridor improves water quality and allows the river to function and meander naturally. This conservation easement also protects working agricultural lands, which are currently used as horse pasture, and provides a public access fishing trail along the east side of the Big Wood River.
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Acres Protected:  155
Date Acquired:  2007 & 2008
Public Access: Yes
Partners: Landowners, Dr. Grant & Sheri Stevens
The Colorado Gulch conservation easement protects 3/4 mile of riverfront on the east side of the Big Wood River, providing nesting and feeding grounds for migratory birds.  It also limits development on the property’s farmland, and protects the cottonwood forest and other native plants in the floodplain.  Cottonwood forest provides winter habitat for bald eagles, elk, moose, and mule deer, while the native plants preserve the area’s floodplain functions. The area is an important link in the future of the fishery, and protecting this area safeguards habitat for wildlife, allowing the river to move within the floodplain to create and maintain fish habitat. The west side of the Big Wood River provides public access for angling, walking, and other recreational and educational activities for all to enjoy.
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Acres Protected:  68
Date Acquired:  2003
Public Access: No
Partners: Donor, Anson McCook Beard & Landowners, Jean Beard, Anson H Beard, & Jamie Beard
The Cottonwood conservation easement, north of Hailey on the Big Wood River, consists of riparian habitat, pasture lands, and overflow areas along the river with mature black cottonwood forest. The riparian and wetland habitat supports many species of bird, fish, and game trails for deer, elk, and moose. This easement also provides protection to a section of the Big Wood River containing areas considered as a wild trout fishery, and the scenic views of the rural landscape are visible from the Sawtooth Scenic Byway, providing enjoyment for all.
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Acres Protected:  214
Date Acquired:  2007 & 2014
Public Access: Trail
Partners: Landowners, Patsy & Mark Nickum
The Croesus Creek conservation easement protects an important corridor for elk and mule deer migration, and wetland areas in Croy Canyon.  These 214 acres are part of a larger 420-acre parcel, the remainder of which was will eventually become a 19-lot subdivision.  During the planning stages of this easement, the landowners worked with Wood River Land Trust to help determine which portions of the property were most valuable for wildlife habitat and other conservation concerns.  After analyzing the land’s wetland, scenic, wildlife, and migration qualities, the Land Trust recommended the areas that should remain undeveloped.  The proposed subdivision was subsequently reconfigured to exclude development from these sensitive areas, which are now protected through the conservation easement.  Conserving the open space within the future subdivision will protect conservation values important to both wildlife and people who enjoy the rural character of Croy Canyon.
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Acres Protected:  640
Date Acquired:  2005
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Doris Tunney
The majority of Double Springs Ranch, approximately 550 of its 640 acres, is pivot-irrigated cropland used mainly to grow grass for Angus cows.  The Ranch is also an inholding - a piece of land surrounded on all sides by public lands.  The sage scrub flats located at the east and west ends the property provide extensive habitat for a variety of birds and mammals, and the surrounding lands have been designated by the BLM as winter range for elk. . The property has been identified as important habitat for several species of concern, such as the pygmy rabbit, lynx, and the gray wolf. The conservation easement between the landowner and Wood River Land Trust prohibits subdivision of the Ranch to protect the land for farming and wildlife habitat.
Double Springs Ranch Click to
Acres Protected:  85
Date Acquired:  2013
Public Access: No
The view that visitors and locals alike enjoy as they enter the Wood River Valley from the south is created in large part by the large agricultural properties in the Bellevue Triangle.  One of those important properties, located at the intersection of Highways 75 and 20, is the Gateway Ranch.  This 85-acre property contains relatively natural non-irrigated pasture with a tributary of Willow Creek running through it, and is a place where it is not uncommon to see many species of wildlife, including ducks, songbirds, deer, and elk.  Protection of this property through a conservation easement ensures that people will continue to enjoy this view for years to come.
Gateway Ranch Click to
Acres Protected:  246
Date Acquired:  1999
Public Access: No
Partners: Donors, Ewing & Bonnie Philbin & Landowners, Jim & Jennifer Milgard
The Houston Road conservation easement is a working farm with significant wildlife habitat along the Big Lost River near Mackay, Idaho.  The current landowners have worked to restore portions of the original farm while continuing to farm several fields.  The floodplain and historic agricultural fields are home to mule deer, elk, and moose.  Numerous species of birds have also been sighted on the property, including great blue heron, kingfisher, and warblers.  Protection against future development ensures that the riparian areas along the Big Lost River will continue to function naturally and upland habitat will continue to exist for these species.
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Acres Protected: 75
Date Acquired:  2003
Public Access: No
Partners: Donors, Gerry O’Connor & Rich Robbins, Landowner, Callie Galpin
Hyndman Creek is a major tributary of the East Fork of the Big Wood River, and provides important riparian habitat for birds and fish, including the threatened Wood River sculpin.  The conservation easement is comprised of open hillsides and flat creek bed, and is favored by deer, elk, and wolverine.  Over the years, the landowners have also sighted black bears and mountain lions with regularity.  Hyndman Creek and the surrounding wetlands are important to water conservation, flood control, and water quality, in addition to providing valuable habitat for wildlife.
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Acres Protected: 1,620
Date Acquired:  2010
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowner, Ralph Campanale
The Kelly Reservoir conservation easement protects wetland and sagebrush-steppe habitat utilzed by many species of migratory birds, waterfowl, and big game animals.  Hundreds of sage-grouse have been sighted on the property, in addition to pronghorn and trumpeter swans.  The property is in the vicinity of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Centennial Marsh Wildlife Management Area, known for its large expanse of wetlands.  Dr. Ralph Campanale donated this conservation easement as a way to permanently preserve the nature of the property in perpetuity.
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Acres Protected:  14
Date Acquired:  2007
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Bing & Debra Gordon
The Lower Board Ranch conservation easement prohibits development and protects wildlife habitat along this section of Warm Springs Creek and around a spring-fed pond on the property.  The easement benefits an array of wildlife including elk, deer, rainbow trout, and Wood River Sculpin.  Protecting the area from development guards against erosion on the banks of the creek during high water events and allows the riparian area to function naturally.  The native trees, shrubs, and grasses along the creek also provide food and nesting cover for migratory birds such as yellow warblers and common yellow throats, and year-round residents like song sparrows.
Lower Board Ranch Click to
Acres Protected:  8
Date Acquired:  2003 & 2006
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Tom & Florence Blanchard, Ed & Julie Lawson
The two Lower Broadford conservation easements include 8 acres of land situated one mile southwest of the city of Bellevue.  The properties are comprised of areas used for grazing horses, protected areas designated as sensitive riparian habitat, and woodlands. Protecting this land connects it to other nearby protected property, which extends the efforts of Wood River Land Trust to provide a natural habitat for fish and wildlife throughout the Wood River Valley. The easement helps protect the river for flood management, water quality, trout fisheries, and also provides habitat for the sensitive Western Toad, a species of special concern.
Lower Broadford Click to
Acres Protected:  14
Date Acquired:  2002
Public Access: By appointment
Partners: Landowners, Mick & Jennifer Halverson
The Mackay River Bridge conservation easement in Custer County provides protection of sagebrush, riverine, wetland, pasture, and riparian habitats. The great habitat variety supports many species, some of which are species of concern or threatened. Protecting the river manages flooding and water quality, while surrounding habitat provides wintering grounds for elk, deer, and moose. The riparian habitat supports forging habitat for lynx, and large sage brush provides habitat for pygmy rabbits.
Mackay River Bridge Click to
Acres Protected: 87
Date Acquired:  1998
Public Access: No
Partners: Donor, Robert McBride & Landowner, Jim Stewart
The Mays Creek conservation easement was one of the first donated to Wood River Land Trust in 1998.  The easement protects sagebrush-steppe and riparian habitat along Mays Creek in Camas County, which supports migration and winter habitat for elk and mule deer.  Additionally, the protection of Mays Creek has a beneficial effect on to the surrounding riverine/wetland habitat by recharging the underlying aquifer and increasing water quality.  Although the property has not been grazed for a number of years, the landowners have worked to protect the natural springs on the property from grazing by fencing and providing alternative watering sources.
Mays Creek Click to
Acres Protected:  355
Date Acquired:  2008
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Bob & Phyllis Ching
Riparian areas and floodplain, covering the majority of the property, are a great example of relatively undisturbed natural habitat.  As landowner Phyllis Ching says, “the most unique aspect of the property is the Big Lost River itself.”  Stands of black cottonwoods, willow thickets, and native grasses comprise its typical cottonwood gallery forest; sagebrush steppe covers the remainder of the property.  The habitat on Old Chilly hosts a variety of permanent and migratory wildlife, offering food and shelter for mule deer, and migration corridors and critical winter range for species such as elk and pronghorn.
Old Chilly Click to
Acres Protected:  920
Date Acquired:  2000
Public Access: No
Partners: Donors, Brett & Trish Bashaw & Landowners, Jerry & Audrey Bashaw
The Picabo Ranch conservation easement is located in the southeast portion of the Bellevue Triangle.  Riparian and wetland habitat associated with Silver Creek are located on the property, which provide habitat connectivity for wildlife with a neighboring nature preserve. Picabo Ranch supports extensive wintering grounds for elk, deer, and moose, and several species of concern such as bald eagle, trumpeter swan, and Wood River sculpin have been observed in close proximity.  A portion of the ranch has been designated as prime farmland and is currently used for agriculture.
Picabo Ranch Click to
Acres Protected:  21
Date Acquired:  2005
Public Access: No
Partners: Donors, Wolf & Feli Funke-Riehle
The Pioneer Moon Ranch conservation easement is located at the base of the Pioneer Mountains in the East Fork drainage.  The property features open pastures favored by deer and elk, and riparian areas along the East Fork, which provide habitat for birds and fish, including the at-risk Wood River sculpin.  Protection of the river helps to recharge the underground aquifer, manage flooding, and provide better water quality for fish.
Pioneer Moon Ranch Click to
Acres Protected:  84
Date Acquired:  2000 & 2004
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Peter & Betty Gray & Ranney & Priscilla Draper
The Red Cliff conservation easements are comprised of two properties along a stretch of the Big Wood River identified by the iconic large red cliffs. Located two miles south of the city of Ketchum, the protection of these properties contributes to a more continuous open space for wildlife. A stretch of the river adjacent to the properties was also re-stabilized by the landowners in 1990, helping to control flooding and erosion, and contributes to the beauty of a place that also supports great fishing.
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Acres Protected:  1.6
Date Acquired:  2008
Public Access: Yes
Partners: Landowners, Big Wood Golf Course, LLC
The Sellgren Trail contributes to the abundant recreational opportunities available for bicyclists and hikers seeking a great view from above Sun Valley and Ketchum.  Part of the White Clouds Trail system, it is accessible and convenient for locals and visitors alike.  On this trail, visitors will find themselves surrounded by sagebrush steppe, native grasses, Douglas fir, and all the beauty of the landscape that is central Idaho.
Sellgren Trail Click to
Acres Protected:  635
Date Acquired:  2007
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Dave & Kathy Richmond
The Simba Springs conservation easement is a welcoming place for many species of wildlife.  This property is home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, and hosts plenty of migrant megafauna; including black bears, mountain lions, wolves, martens, lynx, deer, elk, and even an occasional pronghorn and mountain goat.  There have also been over 80 species of birds identified on the property, including bald and golden eagles, northern goshawk, great horned owls, northern pygmy owls, as well as many songbirds. The property is characterized by mature old-growth Douglas fir, aspen, two small creeks, and many springs.
Simba Springs Click to
Acres Protected:  315
Date Acquired:  1999
Public Access: No
Partners: Donors, Steven & Pam Smith & Landowners, Dick & Pam Tucker
The Three Mile Creek conservation easement is a dryland farming operation northwest of Fairfield and near the base of Soldier Mountain.  Historically, hay, barley, and wheat have been grown, but its magic is found mostly along Three Mile Creek and in the slough that meanders near the western boundary.  A plant survey done by Wood River Land Trust identified over 300 kinds of plants on the property. Numerous types of birds, antelope, ducks, deer and fox have been observed on the property, and a public access trail that runs along Three Mile Creek provides visitors with the opportunity to emerge themselves in research, hiking, birding, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and photography.
Three Mile Creek Click to
Acres Protected:  603
Date Acquired:  2014
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, John, Kristy, Billy, & Chip Molyneux
Timmerman Ranch in the Bellevue Triangle has historically grown alfalfa, pasture grasses, barley, and potatoes. During the fall, it is also common to see migrating groups of sandhill cranes numbering into the hundreds making a stop on the fields.  What makes the property so special, though, is the rural character it provides near the entrance to the Wood River Valley.  Since Timmerman Ranch is part of a larger collection of agricultural properties owned by the Molyneux family, this conservation easement will help to keep the tradition of family ranching strong into the future.
Timmerman Ranch Click to
Acres Protected:  1,320
Date Acquired:  1997 - 1999
Public Access: No
Partners: Landowners, Twin Bridges Homeowners Association, Heier-Dreyer Properties, Anne and John Theders, Mark and Michelle Wiebe, Carl and Fran Stremmel, Clark & Crystal Allen, Jason & Inge Travis, Steven Job, Jerry Flynt
Twin Bridges is comprised of 11 separate conservation easements in an area north of Trail Ridge Road in Custer County.  Donation of the 1,320 total acres spanned from 1997-1999, and showed what kind of large conservation successes are possible when a group of like-minded neighbors works towards a common goal. Various habitats are found on the large property, including riparian wetlands, open slopes, steep hillsides, streams, woodlands, and pastures. The easement protects the sensitive riparian habitat and adjacent land that is important to many fish and wildlife species, including the endangered peregrine falcon.
Twin Bridges Click to