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perspectives on

Land Wood River Land Trust

was a record year in conservation donations to Wood River Land Trust. Generous donations from a number of local landowners helped us protect 820 acres in the Valley. This success is part of a national trend. The Land Trust Alliance’s 2005 National Land Trust Census surveyed nearly 1,840 land conservation organizations throughout the country. This study found that the pace of private land conservation by land trusts has tripled over the past ten years. The West has become the fastest-growing region in both the number of acres saved and the number of land trusts, and public incentives such as tax credits have spurred further private land conservation. The land protected in 2006 includes an anonymous donation of the 672-acre

Cow Catcher Ridge, the donation of 17 acres in the mid-valley, and the 131acre gift of Church Farm, located in the Bellevue Triangle (for more information on Church Farm see the article on page 6). Our largest donation to date, Cow Catcher Ridge illustrates western land trusts’ successes right here in our Valley. This new 672-acre preserve is adjacent to Slaughterhouse Canyon and extends to the south end of Woodside in Hailey. Bordered by BLM land to the east and by farmland to the west, most of Cow Catcher Ridge is within the Idaho Department of Fish & Game’s designated deer migration corridor and/or wintering elk range. The 17-acre Blue Grouse Preserve is adjacent to a recently approved midvalley subdivision and is an excellent Continued on page 7

A publication of Wood River Land Trust www.woodriverlandtrust.org info@woodriverlandtrust.org

Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service


Photo: Kim Clayton “Golden Day” Honorable Mention Third Annual Heart of the Valley Contest


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

WHO WE ARE There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives. — Josephine Hart Photo: Nancy Whitehead


recently lost a great friend. 10 years ago when I moved to the Wood River Valley she came with me. We didn’t know anyone, and taking on the newly created job of Wood River Land Trust’s Executive Director was both a great challenge and a little scary. When I was caught up in the details and frustrations of starting the new organization, my friend showed me the values of what we at the Land Trust were trying to protect. My friend and teacher was my dog, Salma. From a walk along the river, a drive at sunset or a hike above the sage into grouse country, she in her enthusiastic way showed me the subtlety and the power of what makes this Valley so special. With her passing, I’ve taken to remembering experiences shared with her. And knowing that others in the future will be able to have similar experiences because of the actions of the Land Trust warms my heart. If you have the time in the coming days, please take a walk along the River or any favored spot and reflect on how lucky we are to live in such a wondrous place, and by all means take a friend, two-legged or four, along with you.


ack and his wife Marie moved to the Wood River Valley in 1999. Their road here began with a ski vacation in 1970 followed by more ski trips and, soon, their first summer vacation. Jack’s career in real estate investment management took him, Marie, and their two children to Japan in the late 1980’s. It was during those years that Marie and the kids began spending their summers here in the Valley, and the family considered moving to the area. The magnificent mountains framing the Wood River Valley were the main attraction for Jack and Marie. Hailing from the Bay Area, they appreciated the Valley’s quiet, informal, and relaxed pace. Jack’s attraction to the Valley’s natural beauty and his real estate investment background led to his interest in Wood River Land Trust’s work. “I know, as we all do, that the Wood River Valley has and will continue to change from my earliest and fondest memories of over thirty years ago. However, Wood River Land Trust has the ability to protect and preserve—both directly through its conservation efforts and indirectly through education and advocacy of smart planning—the unique and special places in the Valley,” explains Jack. Jack joined our Board of Directors in 2005 and became Treasurer in 2006. “I hope my participation and support will make a positive difference for future generations who will visit and live in the Wood River Valley,” says Jack.


ood River Land Trust’s new Planning Coordinator, Nathan Welch, moved to the Valley in February. Originally from northern Utah, Nathan brings a passion for the Intermountain West and a commitment to protecting and enjoying beautiful places. He has earned master’s degrees in animal and plant ecology from Utah State and Duke universities, while studying conservation biology, invasive species, forest ecology, and geographic information systems. As the Planning Coordinator, Nathan will participate in local land use planning efforts, collaborate with regional nonprofits and agencies, and oversee mapping projects. Nathan decided early in life that he had a future in land conservation. He often accompanied his father, a wildlife biologist, on trips into the mountains. He recalls petting a relocating moose in a horse trailer when he was eight years old. “I’ve always admired how familiar my dad and his colleagues are with a place and its wildlife. My parents taught me to respect places and biological diversity.” As a student, Nathan attended the last two National Land Trust Rallies and was drawn to the community atmosphere and sense of purpose. Inspired by the land trust movement and intent to make a difference in the world, he is eager to apply his talents to land conservation. “As a student or a technician, I’ve lived all over the country. I’m thrilled to return home to the Intermountain West to begin a career in land conservation, especially in an active, engaging community like the Wood River Valley. I visited the Valley for a couple days in early January and was treated to a day of snowing followed by a day of bright, blue skies. I can get used to winter weather like that again,” he says.


his year’s Heart of the Valley Contest asked writers and photographers to capture not the just the places, but the people that make the Wood River Valley home. Specifically, we asked participants to illustrate peoples’ relationships to the Wood River Valley, whether to the Big Wood River, our cottonwood and alpine forests, Baldy, or any of the other spectacular places in our backyard. As the photographs and writings poured into the office we saw an inspiring array of representations of the people who shape this valley. From stories of unlikely acquaintances to those of (literal) lifesavers to those featuring the kindness of strangers, this year’s submissions remind us what is to be part of a community.

Writing Winners

1st Place The Friend by Stephen Gerrish 2nd Place Valley of Beats by Russell Wilson 3rd Place Mile 11/ Indian Creek to Quigley by Hank Dart Staff Favorite Sun Valley by Sky Smith Writing Honorable Mentions Right out my Back Glass Door by Michelle Barrow A Walk in the Woods by Lisa Avison Heart of the Valley by Jack Reidy Heather Kimmel (left) awards Kim Clayton (right) an Honorable Mention for her photograph “Golden Day” at the awards reception at Images of Nature Gallery

Photography Winners

1st Place Foxy Lady by Glen Shapiro

Sponsored by:

2nd Place Walk in the Park by Joshua Wells

Prizes generously donated by:

3rd Place Warm Springs Snow Storm by Jeff Hanson Staff Favorite Trail Creek Beaver Ponds by Jeff Hanson

Special thanks to:

Photography Honorable Mentions Getting Acquainted by Kristy Pigeon Golden Day by Kim Clayton


love to fish the Big Wood. I usually fish alone, and find myself in places where I will not encounter others. The river courses this valley, its rhythm and flow connecting us, our towns and celebrations, ranches and mountain tributaries. But my relationship to the river is a private affair. My time on the river and my encounters—an elk in the middle of winter, and owl at dusk—hold as still in memory as a trout in current. I am selfish about this. So it was unusual when one September evening I encountered another man, fishing the Big Wood in West Ketchum, and we shared the river and our stories for a time. I was fishing upstream, casting to small eddies without much luck, but happy. A black bear lingering at the water’s edge, preparing to cross and find a meal in town was as surprised as I was when we saw each other. She scrambled up the slope, waiting for her own private moment before crossing the river. Upstream I paused in the midst of a smooth glide, marked by several exposed boulders. I approached the first downstream rock, considering my options. Then I heard a voice call out, “Hello friend!” A man approached me, wading upstream in the middle of the river. He appeared old. He wore old waders, with suspenders, and a flannel shirt. A funny brimmed hat. His gear was functional, not fancy. I am particular about the etiquette of the sport, and reluctant with strangers, so I was confused by this fellow’s confident Continued on page 11

Foxy Lady by Glen Shapiro (top), Warm Springs Snow Storm by Jeff Hanson (below left), Walk in the Park by Joshua Wells (below right)


pair of mallards flushed from the creek as we made our way across the wetland, trying in vain to keep our feet dry. The snow-covered Pioneers framed the low winter light on red-twig dogwoods and willows. Each of us, on our first visit to Church Farm in November, immediately realized the significance of these 131 acres in the southwest corner of the Bellevue Triangle. Following this fall’s memorable site visit, long-time Valley resident Joyce Pearson made the generous and far-sighted donation of Church Farm to Wood River Land Trust in December. Mrs. Pearson’s gift to the Land Trust and to the community ensures protection not only of the extensive wetlands found on the land but also of the

sand-hill cranes, ducks, and songbirds that depend on the wetland habitat. Willow Creek, a perennial springfed stream historically known as Little Silver Creek, flows through the property and is an important tributary of the lower Big Wood River. Two artesian springs provide a consistent supply of cold, clear water that nurtures the wetland habitat. Mrs. Pearson’s gift will protect the scenic beauty of the Valley’s farmland and create an open-space buffer for the working farms that surround it. We at Wood River Land Trust look forward to learning more about the Willow Creek headwaters and the wildlife they support, getting to know our new neighbors, and welcoming the community to enjoy its newest protected area.


o you live in the floodplain? If so, we hope you’ll check out our new brochure on floodplain living. “Get To Know Your Closest Neighbor: A Guide for Floodplain Homeowners” has helpful information on the role of the floodplain in the river’s health and on the uses of native plants to beautify and protect stream banks. The new brochure can be a valuable resource this spring as you plan improvements like new decks, additional landscaping, and other projects. Produced in partnership with local governments and landscaping companies, the brochure is available at county and municipal offices, Webb, Hailey Nursery and Wood River Land Trust. To download the brochure from our website go to: www.woodriverlandtrust.org/ resources.html.

Continued from page 1 example of how a subdivision can balance growth with wildlife habitat protection. “Protecting important habitat through conservation organizations and making sound planning and zoning decisions will determine the persistence of species like mule deer, elk, and sage grouse for future residents of the Wood River Valley. This gift sets an example for protecting wildlife even as the Valley grows,” says Dave Parrish, Regional Supervisor of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Wood River Land Trust Advisory Board member of the donation. We hope to continue increasing the number of acres protected throughout the Wood River Valley. For more information about making a donation, or to learn about current tax incentives, please contact our office.s



Adobe Community Relations

John A. Seiller

Alpine Enterprises, Bruce Smith

Silver Creek Outfitters

Alpine Tree Service, Pat Rainey

Bob Stevens

American Water Resources, Bruce Lium

Sun Valley Magazine

Backwoods Mountain Sports

That’s Entertainment

Butler and Hilton Ball

Chris Thompson

Blue Heron Workshop

Doug Werth

Catering by Ric Lum

Wood River Resource Conservation

Mark and Patrice Cole Distilled Resourced, Inc.

& Development The W.C. Bradley Company

Flolo’s One Hour Photo & Portraits Glacier Graphics, Jennifer Self Hall & Hall Patsy Huntington Iconoclast Books Images of Nature Gallery Lave Lake Land and Livestock, LLC Lost River Outfitters Mathieu Computer Ed and Carmen Northen Sacred Bear Framing Saintsbury Sawtooth Food Town Sawtooth Wood Products, Bob Parker



he Open Space Fund is a special account that allows us to take expedient action when bargain sale opportunities on important and sensitive lands arise. We are currently working to bolster this account so we can purchase a discounted 4-acre lot. We hope to trade this lot to the State of Idaho for 80 acres of land adjacent to our existing Cedar Bend Preserve in Hailey. The successful trade would expand the preserve to 84.5 acres that span both sides of the

Big Wood River and that include some of the most popular, close-to-home trails used for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and bird-watching in Hailey. Gifts to the Open Space Fund help us act quickly when singular opportunities to protect the Valley’s natural areas come our way. For more information about how you can contribute to this fund, contact Robyn Watson at (208) 788-3947 or rwatson@woodriverlandtrust.org.

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

Advisory Committee David Anderson Peter Becker Ranney Draper Rebekah Helzel Dave Parrish Larry Schoen John Seiller Bruce Tidwell


Scott Boettger, Executive Director Morgan Buckert, Membership Assistant Melanie Dahl, Executive Assistant Kate Giese, Director of Conservation Kathryn Goldman, Project Coordinator Diane Kahm, Development Assistant Heather Kimmel, Program & Membership Coordinator Robyn Watson, Major Gifts Officer Nathan Welch, Planning Coordinator


Continued from page 5

fly works,” he winked. I guess we’re so old we like to stick close.”

approach. I waved, as I held my fly in my hand. Soon he was next to me.

After a moment of silence he looked straight at me. “You want to give it a try?”

“How are you, young man?” I am over fifty, but for a moment I felt twelve. “Isn’t it a wonderful evening to be on the river? I like to come out this time of day. Fewer people around.”

“I was studying that rock, and the one upstream,” I said.

I agreed with him, and told him I hadn’t had much luck. He laughed. “I haven’t seen a fish.” We compared my flies, my Adams, his Royal Wulff. He laughed again, but looked around, almost distracted, in a sort of reverie. “I just love to fish,” he said. “And I love this valley.” “I’m with you there,” I said. He introduced himself, and so did I. We shook hands. We talked for awhile, there in the middle of the stream. He told me the first time he came to this valley he knew he could not leave, and would die here. And he added that he had done neither, yet. He talked about daily life in this valley and the people who live here. “Those damn sheep,” he giggled. He looked upstream, leaning into the current. A moment passed. “And then there’s this river, and these mountains.” He was not boastful. We did not share the names of people we knew, places we’ve been, favorite haunts, what we’d done or accomplished. He asked about my fishing, why I liked the Adams. We compared notes on the river below Colorado Gulch, where it is quiet. He was deliberate, like a man sitting with a friend on a porch in easy conversation, but taking time to look out across the meadow and remark on something real and observed. He never told me his occupation; I did not ask. His eyes were bright and glistened. “I have some friends I fish with, and sometimes we fish holes together; see who’s got it working.” He was smiling again as he talked, as though a memory was tickled. I told him I have a good friend I like to fish with, but he must have sensed I did not fully grasp his meaning. “No, I mean we fish together, cast to the same spot, same time. The whole thing. We like to see whose

“Good.” And he stationed himself at my left, and together we readied our rods. In the dusk, we began casting to the hole, presenting our flies next to each other, trying not to cross lines, coaching each other when picking up or mending. I watched him, bent forward at the waist, his head extended, concentrating on the water, still smiling. He held his rod lightly, flicking his wrist and arm smoothly to place the fly. Nothing extra, unnecessary. He softly talked to himself, uttering words of selfencouragement. He was a man at home, on the river he loved. We fished on as the shadows of evening grew. Then, as suddenly as he arrived, he told me it was time to go home to his wife. She worried about him if he stayed on the water too late. We shook hands, and I told him I hoped I would fish with him again. He smiled. “In this valley, there are a lot of good people.” He waved, his back to me as he waded downstream toward the path. “I’ll remember this. I enjoyed fishing with you,” he yelled back, and then turned to face me. “But then, all of my memories are here.” I watched him make his way slowly down the path. The river was now dark under the ridge of the mountain. I was again alone on the Big Wood. Although the water of late September was cold as evening approached, I was warmed by thoughts of my new friend, whose heart was full and whose smile was real. I would look for him again on the river. We would fish together. Maybe spend more time working the holes, casting to a heart’s rhythm. s



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Profile for Wood River Land Trust