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perspectives on

Land Wood River Land Trust

winter 2007 A fall afternoon along the Big Wood River at Howard Preserve in Bellevue

Innovative Conservation in a Changing Valley Thoughts from Executive Director, Scott Boettger


like to say that it took nine years and three governors to complete Wood River Land Trust’s newest preserve, the Draper Wood River Preserve. The 80-plus-acre land trade with the State of Idaho in the heart of Hailey took so long because of its complexity, and we are increasingly undertaking these kinds of large, complex, and time-consuming projects because they have the potential to achieve greater conservation benefits for our local lands, waters, people, and wildlife. Such complicated projects take years of perseverance to see through to completion. In comparison, the voluntary conservation agreements our qualified staff creates with caring landowners

(we are currently working on eight) come to fruition quite quickly. Wood River Land Trust was uniquely positioned to create the Draper Wood River Preserve in what I think is the best example of a win-win collaborative conservation effort the Valley has ever seen: when the trade was complete, the State of Idaho owned a marketable lot it could sell to raise school endowment funds, and residents gained the largest stretch of protected riverfront land in our area. In addition to working with individual landowners, we have long used an array of tools to protect land, such as partnering with the City of Bellevue to create the Howard Preserve (2004) and Continued on page 4

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

Protecting the heart of the valley...now and for the future.

who we are Meet the Board

Meet our Staff

John Fell Stevenson, Director

Melanie Dahl, Executive Assistant


ohn Fell Stevenson’s involvement with Wood River Land Trust stems from his love of the land his family has worked for 35 years. John’s family has lived and worked on their ranch on the headwaters of Stalker Creek since 1972, and, remarkably, almost nothing has changed. John attributes this largely to the many landowners working with The Nature Conservancy and Wood River Land Trust to create conservation agreements that protect their land in perpetuity, making it increasingly valuable. “In addition,” he says, “the movement opposing unplanned development might not be effective if not for Wood River Land Trust’s expertise, advice, and dedication, and their ability to influence public policy.” Describing his first meeting with Executive Director Scott


John Fell Stevenson and his pal, Barley

Boettger over ten years ago when they discussed Transfers of Development Rights (TDRs), he says, “Scott was an expert on the subject. Now, we finally have a TDR ordinance. The next step

help us meet our challenge! As 2007 draws to a Year-End Challenge Goal.............$340,000 close we need your help! Anonymous Amount Raised as of 11/26......$171,500 donors and our Board of Directors have Amount Needed to generously pledged Meet Challenge........................$168,500 a $170,000 matching grant. To receive this gift, we must raise $340,000 by December 31, 2007. This means that every dollar you donate between now and the end of the year will be matched by an additional $.50. The Year-End Challenge provides and excellent opportunity to make your gift go even further in the protection of the Valley’s land, water, and wildlife habitat. All donations are tax-deductible. Please help us reach our goal today!


is to make them work, and we can be sure the Land Trust will be involved in that effort too.” Thanks to alternatives like TDRs, we are successfully guiding growth away from sensitive areas like wetlands and streams and towards more appropriate places closer to County services. “We constantly hear talk about how the valley has changed,” John says, “and it has, with more subdivisions and ever-increasing traffic. This is true all over the mountain west. The pressure on these mountain valleys will only increase as baby boomers retire.” John considers his involvement with Wood River Land Trust and motivation for getting involved, explaining that “the future of the open space, wildlife, and waters of this whole area is enhanced by having Wood River Land Trust with its team of experts on the job for us, and that is why I was happy to accept Scott’s invitation this year to join the board.” Wood River Land Trust is honored to have John’s support and appreciates the time, dedication, and expertise he contributes to our work!

f you’ve visited or called the Wood River Land Trust office, most likely you’ve shared a few words and a smile with Melanie Dahl. Our conspicuous voice behind the front desk is most enthusiastic about our more visible efforts, especially those in the centers of our communities and critical wildlife areas. Over the past 30 years, Melanie has been an active member of the Wood River Valley community. She’s worked with local media, including newspaper and radio, and the Blaine County Recreation District. As a founder of the Bellevue Historical Society, she continues to be involved in preserving Bellevue’s past by restoring structures and archiving documents. For example, the Society saved Old City Hall and later opened it as a museum. Recognizing the importance of guiding the future of her community, Melanie spent a combined 12 years on the Bellevue Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council. Based on her rich experiences in the Valley, she provides valuable perspectives on where the Valley’s been, where it’s headed, and how best to share these ideas with others. Melanie joined the Wood River Land Trust staff as the Executive Assistant almost five years ago. In recent years, she’s watched the organization’s staff double and is proud of the work they’ve accomplished. Molly and Nicolas, Melanie’s grown children, played at the present day Howard Preserve when they were young. This was years before we helped the City of Bellevue purchase the area as a park to guarantee its enjoyment by future generations.

As a long-term resident and occasional civic leader, Melanie has witnessed the fast pace and character of change in the Wood River Valley. “Things are changing so fast in the Valley that I’m really worried about the future of wildlife,” she explains. She cites the Square Lake Preserve and its sage-grouse as a favorite example of how Wood River Land Trust is working to protect wildlife and its habitat. Melanie is a key member of the Wood Rive Land Trust team. Her presence and talents contribute to the success of our organization and make the office a wonderful space for work. And she shares the abundant plums from her fruit trees with Melanie Dahl tending the flowers all of us.

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

WRLT Staff Scott Boettger Executive Director

Morgan Buckert Membership Assistant

Melanie Dahl Executive Assistant

Kate Giese Director of Conservation

Kathryn Goldman Project Coordinator

Diane Kahm

Advisory Committee David Anderson Peter Becker Ranney Draper Rebekah Helzel Dave Parrish Larry Schoen John Seiller Bruce Tidwell This newsletter is published by:

Development Assistant

Wood River Land Trust

Heather Kimmel

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

Program & Membership Coordinator

Robyn Watson Major Gifts Officer

Nathan Welch Planning Coordinator


connecting to the land Continued from cover

Be the First to See this Year’s Heart of the Valley Photographs Join us at Images of Nature Gallery in Ketchum on December 28th during the Gallery Walk for the first public showing of this year’s Heart of the Valley photography submissions. Thanks to Images of Nature for providing a beautiful space in which to highlight this year’s photographs. Join us too at 6:30 p.m. on January 23rd when we announce this year’s contest winners at a public reception at Images of Nature Gallery. This year’s contest is generously sponsored by:

with the City of Hailey to create Riverside Pond (2003) and a protected greenway along the Big Wood River (2002). But with a limited amount of privately-owned land and ongoing development pressure, we must be creative and proactive to make a difference on a larger scale. As important riverfront, recreational, and scenic lands become increasingly expensive, we recognize that simply raising money to purchase land will no longer be adequate or effective. With that in mind, Wood River Land Trust is evaluating key projects that will require more time, patience, and creativity but that will yield important conservation returns. Our current Sheep Bridge Canyon Project is a great example. Still in its infancy, this project has the potential to protect land and water resources while stretching our conservation dollars. You will be reading more about Sheep Bridge Canyon and other projects and about our use of revolving funds, bargain sales, land trades, and partnering successes in our upcoming newsletters. With all the challenges our valley faces, one thing is certain—we live in a remarkable, beautiful place. And as the valley grows, so will Wood River Land Trust and our ability to protect and conserve our land, water, and wildlife habitat.

Sheep Bridge Canyon Project


ood River Land Trust’s new Sheep Bridge Canyon Project seeks to protect approximately 300 acres just east of Timmerman junction. Each spring and fall, huge numbers of elk, mule deer, and antelope migrate through the area as they leave the Smoky Mountains and Rock Creek drainage west of the Wood River Valley on their way to the more temperate lava rock landscape near Shoshone. The Sheep Bridge Canyon Project would protect over a mile of Big Wood River frontage in an area that is home to bald eagles and other raptors and where trout spawn in the cold, clear water as they wend their way from Magic Reservoir. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game notes that the forested areas around rivers like those near Sheep Bridge Canyon are the most threatened habitat type in Idaho. Your support of Wood River Land Trust makes possible projects like Sheep Bridge Canyon that protect land so large game animals have room to roam and areas around rivers and streams remain healthy for an array of animals, raptors, and songbirds.

To Bellevue Highway 75

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Innovative Conservation in a Changing Valley

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Visit the Building Material Thrift Store at its new location 3930 S. Woodside (208) 788-0014


Reeling them in at Sheep Bridge Canyon



thank you for helping us achieve our goals A Tribute to the Places you Love

A Short Commute for Our Staff


obert Antonioli, a long time Wood River Valley homeowner, was an avid fisherman, tennis player, skier and biker. He loved the Wood River Valley’s scenic vistas, open landscapes, and the Big Wood River. Robert showed his affection for the Valley by bequeathing, upon his passing last summer, a portion of his estate to Wood River Land Trust to foster the protection of the valley he loved. In honor of his memory, we are placing a bench at our Trail Creek Overlook at 2nd Avenue and Spruce Street in Ketchum. The Trail Creek Overlook in downtown Ketchum is the perfect place to get outside for lunch or await a dinner reservation.

Robert Antonioli

The new house at 119 2nd Avenue North


n September, Wood River Land Trust purchased the house next door to our Hailey office. Purchasing the Second Avenue home helped us achieve two goals: providing staff housing and saving another small piece of Hailey’s history. The lot next door has contained a dwelling since at least 1885, and the current house has all the earmarks of a building that has gone through more than a few incarnations. As we did with our office at 119 E. Bullion, we will restore and revitalize the new house. We are currently looking for a fitting historic Hailey style to guide our restoration of the house. Architect Eddy Svidgal, a member of the Hailey Historic Preservation Commission, has offered us his professional talents. How were we able to take this step? Long-time supporters and advisors Lyn and David Anderson donated a Sun Valley condominium to Wood River Land Trust late in 2006 with the condition that proceeds from its sale be used to fund staff housing. The condominium sold quickly, and an Employee Housing Assistance Fund was established. Our Planning Coordinator, Nathan Welch, and his wife, Lara, have moved in and will have a hand in the restoration work that will be going on around them. We would like to thank Gayle Stevenson of Sotheby’s for her encouragement and assistance in this transaction as well as previous owner, Debra Evans, and neighbors Todd and Nancie Krankkala.


Planned gifts to Wood River Land Trust help us protect the Valley’s land, water, and wildlife habitat for years to come. Planned gifts can be made by: • Including a cash gift in your estate plan such as a will or living trust • Donating land or a conservation agreement in your estate plan • Directing a portion of your IRA or 401(k) to Wood River Land Trust • Naming Wood River Land Trust as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy To learn how you can make a difference with your planned gift, please call Robyn Watson at 208 788-3947, or contact your estate planner to learn about the ways planned giving can benefit your estate and Wood River Land Trust.

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

Printed on recycled paper

winter 2007 In This issue: Innovative Conservation in a Changing Valley ...Page 1 Be the First to See this Year’s Heart of the Valley Photographs! ...Page 4 Sheep Bridge Canyon Project ...Page 5 A Short Commute for Our Staff ...Page 6 Snowshoeing at Draper Wood River Preserve

Acres Permanently Protected With Your Support: 6,421

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