Enjoy Croy Canyon!

Here in the Wood River Valley, many of us continue to keep active by getting out in our beautiful natural surroundings. Increased traffic on the trails has created limitations for people recreating outdoors, as anyone that has taken a hike on the Carbonate Trail has experienced. When hikers approach each other, they find themselves scrambling up the hill to comply with the social distancing expectations. Examples of this “dance” are prevalent on trails all over the valley, from Elkhorn to Quigley.

Yes, even this community needs a little more space.  In Draper Preserve, the traffic counts of pedestrians on Bow Bridge have doubled compared to this same period in 2019. With the increasing need for extra space in our community, The Wood River Land Trust is speeding up their processes, and their staff is working hard to get the 118-acre Simons Bauer Preserve opened.  The new access to open space is adjacent to the Hailey Greenway just beyond the Draper Preserve on Croy Canyon Road.

While The Land Trust is so thrilled to be offering this extra space to the community, one of the biggest drivers of a comprehensive management plan is the fact that this parcel includes a very sensitive wildlife habitat.

“Waterfowl are nesting this time of year, and the elk are still utilizing the wetland for wintering grounds” Scott Boettger gently reminds us, adding to “please keep your dog on a leash while you are enjoying the trails on the north side of the creek.”  The Land Trust will be posting signs about the wildlife that share the Simons Bauer Preserve, so please keep an eye out for those! The Land Trust continues to work on the detailed plans for connecting boardwalks and paths with the rest of the Hailey Greenway while expanding opportunities for cycling/biking.  The Land Trust looks forward to getting the community’s comments on the long term vision for the preserve.  

An Asset for the Community

Access to a healthy river and abundant recreational opportunities are critical to our way of life. Enhanced hiking, fishing, birding, biking, learning, and connecting – these are just a few of the activities this new preserve has the potential to provide for the community and anyone who loves our Valley.

The preserve will connect the popular trails at the Draper Wood River Preserve with the new Mountain Humane campus in Croy Canyon. This means more opportunities for you and your furry friends to enjoy the outdoors in a relatively pristine setting. More opportunities for you to enjoy the unrivaled open spaces view of the Valley, additional trails for you to hike, more ways for our community’s youth to engage with nature, improved habitat for our river and wildlife, and a priceless treasure for all to enjoy.

But we still need your help to cross the finish line. With your support, we can start to design the trails and connectors that will open this property for the community.

Ecological Importance

The 118-acre property is an important wildlife and potential recreation corridor and contains extensive wetlands including a 1-mile section of Croy Creek that feeds into the Big Wood. Studies have shown that 85% of all wildlife species native to the area- both aquatic and terrestrial – depend on riparian and/or wetland habitat at some time during their life. This includes elk, waterfowl, songbirds, beavers, amphibious and fish species. The property also contains an artisan spring that serves as a critical water resource for Hailey, our river, the wetlands, and our wildlife.

Following the 2017 floods, the Land Trust and the City of Hailey worked to incorporate flood mitigation concepts into the Hailey Greenway Master Plan. The concept with the biggest potential impact is reconnecting the Big Wood River to its floodplain at Lions Park. This would allow the river to once again sheet-flood the Croy Creek wetlands on the proposed preserve, slow down floodwaters, and deposit sediment there instead of downstream near the Della View neighborhood.   These efforts will take multiple years, as we’ll be working with multiple federal and local agencies to remove the old fill material under Lions Park, but it’s part of a holistic strategy that would reduce the need for costly and destructive actions on the Big Wood if we were to try to merely deal with the effects of the flooding instead of the cause.

Please consider a gift today to help us finalize our management plans and get the ball rolling on opening the rest of the property!

The preserve has the capability to change how we deal with flooding in a holistic way that is beneficial to the habitat, the river, and our community.