Have you ever seen hundreds of sheep cross a rickety, old bridge? There is such a place where sheepherders corral their flock and funnel them across the Big Wood River toward the Smoky Mountains. Land near the bridge is known as Sheep Bridge Canyon and was permanently protected by Wood River Land Trust in 2007. Zoning for the property would have allowed seven 40-acre parcels, forever impacting the surrounding public lands and the important wildlife migration corridor between Rock Creek and the lower Big Wood River.
One mile of the Big Wood River winds through the property, cutting a deep canyon through the black, volcanic rock. Although it can be a steep descent, it doesn’t stop many anglers from reaching the river and connecting with nature through fly-fishing. By protecting Sheep Bridge, Wood River Land Trust ensured that pronghorn will be allowed to migrate through the property from the Wood River Valley to lands surrounding Magic Reservoir.
The protection of Sheep Bridge Canyon also accomplished another objective for Wood River Land Trust. In 2011, the property was conveyed to the BLM in a 3-way land exchange, through which, Wood River Land Trust was able to leverage the property to achieve additional conservation while ensuring its protection.