Page 1

The Land Bulletin

Protecting and restoring our natural lands and healthy waters since 1994. MARCH 2006

Protecting Double Springs Ranch


Double Springs Ranch

In this Issue... Protecting Double Springs Ranch, page 1

Barbara Farm: An Organic Oasis


President’s Message, page 1 Your Choices Can Protect the Big Wood River, page 2 Heart of the Valley Photographs and Writings, page 4 Heart and Soul, page 5

Sage Grouse Strut, page 6

President’s Message John Flattery, Board President

Barbara Farm: An Organic Oasis, page 1 & 3

ADOPT A PRESERVE: Connecting to Cedar Bend, page 6

r. Doris Tunney approached Wood River Land Trust in the summer of 2005 about permanently protecting her working ranch in the Pahsimeroi River Valley at the foothills of Mt. Borah. The majority of Double Springs Ranch, approximately 550 of its 640 acres, is pivot-irrigated cropland used to grow specialty horse hay. The Ranch is also an inholding—a piece of land surrounded on all sides by public lands. These surrounding lands have been designated by the BLM as winter range for elk. The voluntary agreement between Doris and Wood River Land Trust prohibits subdivision of the Ranch to protect the land for farming and wildlife habitat. Doris recalls seeing the land for the first time and learning it was for sale. “The land is very unique and special,” she says. “I knew if I purchased it I had to protect it.”

Judy harvesting


red and Judy Brossy know how to make things grow in the Magic Valley. After twenty-two years of managing Barbara Farm, Fred and Judy successfully protected the farm in perpetuity and made it their own. Continued on pg 3

ince our founding over 10 years ago, Wood River Land Trust has employed the classic conservation tools to protect open space and wildlife habitat in the Wood River Valley. These tools John Flattery include donations of conservation easements, donations of land, and donations of money with which to purchase land in need of protection. Our challenge today, as development pressures continue to increase, is determining how we can play a role in the public process and influence growth patterns so that our natural areas and wildlife habitat are protected for future generations. Continued on pg 7


Meet Our Board of Directors Liz Mitchell Board Member

“What I love about the valley is that no matter the time of year, there is always an opportunity to explore right from the back door. I felt it was important to join Wood River Land Trust to help preserve open space and wildlife habitat right here in the valley.” As an environmental lawyer, Liz has been involved with highly contentious issues. She recognizes the value of people working collaboratively to protect their environment and quality of life, not just for their benefit but also for the next generation. Liz says, “my 7-year old nephew is obsessed with fishing in the Riverside Pond in Hailey and it is great to know that he will be able to continue to fish there and in the Big Wood River as he grows up.” Liz moved to the Wood River Valley in 2000 from Oregon, where she practiced environmental law for a nonprofit firm. She currently has her own practice. She and her husband, Mike, spend their free time nordic and backcountry skiing, trail running, and trying to get at least one red tomato from their garden. Liz joined our board in February 2005.

“A city of trees, all scraping the sky, line the river that rushes by like calmness on a busy day.” —Tessa Barrow

THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS TO MAKE A PLANNED GIFT TO WOOD RIVER LAND TRUST. Planned gifts enable future generations to enjoy the natural areas that make this valley special. You may wish to consult your tax advisor to determine which types of donations—cash, land, stock transfers, or a combination thereof—are best suited to your estate plan. For more information, contact Jan Peppler at (208) 788-3947 or jpeppler@woodriverlandtrust.org.


Your Choices Can Protect the Big Wood River! These simple actions will keep our water clean and our fish healthy. • • •

• • • • •

Site new homes as far away from the river as possible to lessen flood risks. Preserve cottonwood trees and native vegetation along the riverbanks to stop erosion, provide shade, and preserve the cool water temperatures fish need during hot months. Use native plants including Coyote Willow, River Birch, Redtwig Dogwood, and Chokecherry when landscaping along river banks. Immediately beyond the stream bank use Booth, Geyers, or Whiplash Willows. Also use Elderberry and Currants. When possible, do not remove cottonwood trees that fall in the river; in-stream wood slows the erosive action of high flows. Construct paths to the river with hand tools and size them four feet wide or less. Use fish-friendly construction materials, such as water-permeable asphalt for driveways, to allow water to return to the aquifer. Keep our water clean by using organic fertilizers and pest control methods in your yard. Pass this information along to a neighbor, friend, or landscape company!

For more information or a complete list of recommended plants to use in the floodplain, contact Wood River Land Trust at 788-3947.


Cash Contributions

Will or Living Trust

Land Contributions


Voluntary Conservation Agreements

401 K


Life Insurance Policies



Barbara Farm: An Organic Oasis, continued from page 1 The 1800-acre Barbara Farm three miles west of Shoshone on the northern edge of the Snake River Plain contains 300 acres of irrigated farmland surrounded by sagebrush and basalt outcrops. The Little Wood River bisects the farm, creating a river corridor that provides a home for many species that otherwise would not exist. Because the farm is managed organically, no synthetic chemicals or fertilizers are used, so the farm is a safe haven for wildlife including deer, elk, beaver, fox, owls, and songbirds. Thanks to a partnership two years in the making, the Brossys were able to protect Barbara Farm by collaborating with Wood River Land Trust, the Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program (FRPP) through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the land’s former owner, Ernest A. Bryant III. This partnership resulted in a 396-acre conservation agreement that forever protects 297 acres of irrigated farmland and 99 acres of riparian area from future subdivision and development to ensure the land will remain in cultivation and the wildlife habitat will be protected for all time.

Cooper Brossy on the tractor

This is Fred and Judy’s story . . .

Making the Farm Our Own by Fred Brossy


espite its neglected appearance, when Judy and I first drove down the lane at Barbara Farm with a local realtor in May of 1983, I knew it was a special place. The next month, when I showed the farm to my employer as a prospective acquisition for a ranching operation, he had the same impression and immediately decided to purchase it. Over the next twenty-three years in my official capacity as Manager, and my self-appointed role of land steward, I have become intimately connected with many different facets of the farm, and have grown to love it as if it were my own. Initially, our relationship with the land was like that of a new bride with her first home—we worked hard to clean up the effects of years of inattention by the former owners and to make the farm our own. At the same time, we were making the farm more “farmable,” with improvements to the irrigation systems and buildings. During those early years on the farm, there was also the challenge of figuring out how to make it “work” as a farm in the commodified world of modern agriculture. Due to its small and irregular-shaped fields, Barbara Farm does not lend itself well to the “economies of scale” necessary to survive in conventional agriculture today. After eventually facing this reality, we moved towards a 100percent irrigated pasture and livestock operation. Several years into this venture, it became apparent that the farm lacked sufficient irrigation delivery systems to keep 300 acres of grass adequately irrigated during the heat of the summer. This realization came at the same time I was seriously considering farming organically. Part of the uniqueness of Barbara Farm is how well it fits within the wildness of the desert surrounding it and the river flowing through it. Our challenge was to farm in a manner that minimized, as much as possible, disruptions to the surrounding ecosystem. An obvious first step in this direction was to avoid using chemicals such as herbicides and insecticides that are harmful to the farm’s flora and fauna, so adopting organic methods seemed to make sense. Moreover, the grass and legume pastures we had used for raising livestock had increased the soil’s fertility over the years, which made growing our first organic row crops more feasible. For the last ten years, Barbara Farm has been certified organic. Today we grow potatoes, beans, wheat, asparagus, and vegetable seed crops, A handfull of carrot seed which are marketed under the Ernie’s Organics label, as well as hay and pasture to maintain soil fertility. Our plans for the future include marketing more of our crops locally and producing our own energy right on the farm. Farming organically can be particularly challenging, but it is extremely rewarding as well. As a farmer, I am very gratified to be able to grow not only healthy and nutritious food, but also to be part of the miraculous process of growing and selecting seed—the most important part of sustainability. Because we have been able to create a sustainable farming operation at Barbara Farm, when the opportunity arose to purchase it, we were ready to take the next step and move from manager/ stewards to become owner/stewards. We are very proud to have been part of the conservation agreement process that ensures that this land will remain a farm forever, and we are very grateful to the NRCS and Wood River Land Trust and the generous donors who made this possible.


Photographs & Writings Honor the Heart of the Wood River Valley


his fall, Wood River Land Trust asked community members to send their photographs and writings that captured their favorite places in the Valley. The response was inspiring, as was the array of special places that were chronicled. Entries featured runs on Baldy, secluded spots along the Big Wood River, a playground’s furthest reaches, and our cottonwood forests to name a few. We received a number of beautiful photographs and eloquent writings this year, and the public response to these works has been great. Dozens of people made a special trip to the Images of Nature Gallery during the December Gallery Walk just to see these photographs. Participants were honored and winners announced at a reception on January 17th at the Sun Valley Center, Hailey, where all submitted photographs and writings were displayed for the public.

Winners of Wood River Land Trust’s 2005 Heart of the Valley Multi-Media Contest PHOTOGRAPHY:

1st Place: “Less is More” by Joshua Wells 2nd Place: “First Snow, from Dollar Mountain” by Beverly Robertson 3rd Place: “The Fall Trailing of the Sheep” by Jennifer Montgomery Honorable mentions: “God’s Perfect Fall Day for Jim Agnew” by Sheri Hodge “Grandkids Searching for the Pot of Gold” by Jim Hodge Staff Favorite: “Little Fall Creek” by Wayne R. Clayton.


1st Place: “Heart and Soul” by Sky Smith 2nd Place: “The Woods” by Tessa Barrow 3rd Place: “Mountain of My Dreams” by Tom Marron Honorable Mentions: “My Own Private Kitty Hawk” by Hunter Scarborough “Olympic” by Brad Thomas Staff Favorite: “My Own Private Kitty Hawk” by Hunter Scarborough

above right, Ms. Michel Polas’s 10th grade WRHS writing class who submitted entries to this year’s contest. above left, 3rd Place: “The Fall Trailing of the Sheep” by Jennifer Montgomery 1st Place: “Less is More” by Joshua Wells About his photograph Joshua writes, “’Less is More’ is symbolic of one of the many successes environmental organizations have had in preserving the prolific ecological and environmental attributes of the Wood River Valley. Unlike other resort destinations, the Wood River Valley remains a place where residents and visitors can still escape the crowds and find peace and solitude in nature.”


Heart and Soul by Sky Smith, 1


Place Winner, Short Writing Division


hile the businesses in our valley compose the physical, pumping heart that keeps our economy and society afloat, the little niches in which one may relax and reflect make up the true heart of the valley. People find their niches on their couch, in the woods, or maybe at some restaurant. I found my niche on a log, by the river, a half-mile south of River Run. Most days after school when stress levels reach a ridiculous height, I hop on my long board, fire up some tunes, and kick off down the bike path. Weaving between scattered, fallen leaves I come to a place where two benches face a row of trees behind which runs the river. Between these benches winds a path. The path goes down for about thirty feet, then rises to a sort of shelf on which stands a row of tall, yellow-leaved trees. Poking my head through the low branches, the shimmering river gleams in my eyes. I sit on a log facing north so that the trees stand to my right, the river runs to my left, and Bald Mountain frames the blue sky straight ahead. Bold and strong, the ridges of the mountain that made this valley famous are lined with forests of thick, green pine trees. These majestic ridges border a beautiful blue sky splotched and streaked with wispy, swirling clouds. The peaceful murmurs of leaves in the breeze, and the bubbling and whispering of the river provide a calming soundtrack. The earthy scent wafts in my nostrils, refreshing yet musty, and the firm log gently supports me from below. My paradisiacal environment eases my mind into a gentle state of philosophical reflection. My state of peacefulness causes me to question the nature of the ceaseless bustle in town just a mile away. An angry customer yells at her bank teller, an impatient driver flips off a slow moving old lady. While forced by their busy lives into their most selfish, primitive state, the people ironically slave away to keep a civilized society on its feet. The whole thing reminds me of a bunch of apes navigating a warship. I chuckle over this ironic situation, and I can almost hear the river chuckle with me. My nourishing oasis saturates the dry sands of my mind, extricating me from the binding confines of our dog-eat-dog society. The heart of the valley pumps blood and oxygen into my thirsty veins. For the moment I rest in absolute peacefulness. This moment of stability enables me to take a deep breath and strengthen my resolve to keep on kicking. Regardless of where I find myself and what I do in my spastic life, my niche remains static. The leaves still whisper, the river still shimmers, and the sturdy log sits still and waits for me. The heart of the valley keeps pumping.

2nd Place: “First Snow from Dollar Mountain� by Beverly Robertson


ADOPT-A-PRESERVE: Connecting to Our Cedar Bend Preserve



f you visit the trails along the Big Wood River in Hailey, you’re bound to find people out enjoying the land—walking after work, enjoying swimming holes in the summer, catching a trout, or checking out the birds and wildlife. These trails are part of Wood River Land Trust’s 4.5- acre Cedar Bend Preserve as well as lands owned by the State of Idaho. You’re also bound to see the neighborhood moose when visiting the Cedar Bend area. Moose sightings are common these days on and near the protected habitat of the Preserve. Next time you’re at Cedar Bend be sure to look for the moose tracks!

above, Enjoying the Cedar Bend trails on a sunny winter morning above right, Moose mom with her twins at Cedar Bend

Thank you to everyone who helped us reach and exceed our 2005 year-end challenge goal of $300,000! This was our most ambitious challenge to date, and your response was generous and overwhelming. This inspiring support resulted in a $150,000 gift from an anonymous donor and our Board of Directors, effectively matching every dollar donated with an additional fifty cents. Meeting this challenge helps us continue to protect the natural areas, wildlife habitat, and healthy waters that make this valley special. With your help, we have now permanently protected 4,628 acres in the Wood River Valley and surrounding area.


See the Sage Grouse Strut Their Stuff!



Photo courtesy of Robert M. Griffith

ood River Land Trust’s 320-acre Square Lake Preserve south of Bellevue contains a sage grouse mating ground known as a lek. On the lek, males spread their plumage, strut, and inflate air sacs on their chests to create loud “plopping” sounds during elaborate rituals to attract females. Depending on the weather, this ritual is performed early in the morning before the sun rises throughout the month of April. If you are interested in viewing this amazing performance, please contact Heather at 7883947 or hkimmel@woodriverlandtrust.org. Groups will be small and dates may be flexible. Sage grouse populations have declined drastically in the Intermountain West due to the loss of critical sagebrush habitat. Wood River Land Trust works to protect important wildlife habitat like this so our future generations can enjoy the same magnificent displays of nature as we enjoy today! A male sage grouse’s mating display.

THANK YOU TO OUR LOCAL BUSINESS SUPPORTERS! Alpine Tree Service, Pat Rainey Atkinsons’ Markets Backwoods Mountain Sports Bigwood Bread Blue Ice Vodka Boise State Radio Brooks Welding Calera Wine Company Catering by Ric Lum Cowboy Coffee Company Flolo’s One Hour Photos & Portraits Guffy’s Iconoclast Books Images of Nature Gallery Jane’s Paper Place


KD Excavation Lava Lake Land and Livestock, LLC Mama Inez and The Bank Bar Oak Street Take Out & Catering Phoenix Quality Framing River Bend Brewing Saintsbury Vineyard Silver Creek Distillers Silver Creek Outfitters Silverstream Information Technology, Sarah Gray Sun Valley Brewing Company That’s Entertainment The Real Estate Magazine White Otter Outdoor Adventures

We facilitate the reuse or recycling of homes, building materials, and larger household items. Proceeds from the sale of materials are dedicated to Wood River Land Trust’s preservation of natural areas and healthy waters throughout the Wood River Valley.


Board of Directors John Flattery, President Clark Gerhardt, Vice President Ed Cutter, Treasurer Robin Garwood, Secretary Jerry Bashaw Tom Bentley William Burnham Heather King Patricia Klahr Jack Kueneman Bill Lehman Liz Mitchell Steve Strandberg Joan Swift Tom Swift Chris Thompson Barbara Thrasher Bruce Tidwell Doris Tunney Liz Warrick

WRLT Staff

Scott Boettger Executive Director Melanie Dahl Executive Assistant Kate Giese Stewardship Coordinator

Advisory Committee David Anderson Peter Becker Julie Gallagher Larry Schoen John Seiller This newsletter is published by:

Kathryn Goldman Project Coordinator

President’s Message Continued from page 1

As Blaine County and its municipalities search for creative ways to protect the Big Wood River and its wetlands as well as local hillsides and wildlife areas, they have recognized Wood River Land Trust as a valuable resource and partner. We, in turn, recognize this as an opportunity to become the “go to” non-governmental agency for land protection and conservation advice. We believe that we have already made a significant impact and can do more. Staff has recently: • Provided scientific data to the City of Ketchum showing the importance of protecting sensitive areas near the river and has proposed using incentives that encourage landowners to protect these areas; • Testified at the City of Sun Valley’s comprehensive plan hearings to urge the City to protect land along Sun Valley Road for open space; and • Participated in discussions about Blaine County’s Vision 2025 and other planning and zoning issues. Looking to the future, I see many additional opportunities to be involved in the process. Opportunities include: • Identifying habitat areas that should be off limits to development; • Cataloging wetland and other environmentally sensitive areas; and • Identifying scenic corridors and open areas that are environmentally sensitive and in need of protection. Our expertise can help protect the sensitive areas we all have come to cherish. Your support and participation in this process is vital to its success.

Diane Kahm Data Manager Allison Kennedy Planning Coordinator Heather Kimmel Program & Membership Coordinator Jan Peppler Major Gifts Officer

Wood River Land Trust

119 East Bullion Street Hailey, Idaho 83333 208-788-3947 (telephone) 208-788-5991 (fax) info@woodriverlandtrust.org (email) www.woodriverlandtrust.org (web) Tax ID# 82-0474191

“The sun peeked over the tips of the surrounding mountains, and the chair lift glided through a strip of cleared trees with moist snow drizzled over their pine needles.” —Natalie Hague 7


119 East Bullion Street Hailey, Idaho 83333 www.woodriverlandtrust.org ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

Acres Permanently Protected to Date: 4,628

Honorable Mention: “God’s Perfect Fall Day for Jim Agnew” by Sheri Hodge

Printed on recycled paper

Profile for Wood River Land Trust