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Wood River Land Trust

winter 2008 An old homesteader’s cabin at Sheep Bridge Canyon, Wood River Land Trust’s newest conservation purchase

Protecting Big Game Animals’ Room to Roam


hen snow accumulates in the high country, winter recreationists in search of fresh snow venture uphill, and big game animals trek in the opposite direction. The high country’s deep snow drives elk, mule deer, and pronghorn to seek lower elevations where they can more easily find food. In April 2008, Wood River Land Trust protected a critical piece of one of these traditional migration corridors when the John McDonald Family agreed to sell the land at a bargain rate. Safeguarding 306 acres at Sheep Bridge Canyon from development maintains a link for wildlife between the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and the vast sage-

brush steppe landscape surrounding Magic Reservoir. The land also connects public lands managed by the Idaho Department of Fish & Game and the Bureau of Land Management. Sheep Bridge Canyon is covered by sagebrush and other native vegetation that provide habitat for wildlife; it also contains nearly a mile of the Big Wood River upstream from Magic Reservoir. Anglers can fish on an unusual section of the Big Wood River surrounded by basalt cliffs, while others can enjoy the host of wildflowers and wildlife. Last spring our staff found some of the season’s first wildflowers growing near seeps along the northern rim of the canyon and reveled in meadows of lupine Continued on page 7

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 Help Us Meet Our Challenge Today!


Executive Director, Scott Boettger

Best of All . . .

Letter from Executive Director, Scott Boettger


ou have probably heard someone say that they came for the skiing but stayed for the summers. I’ll let you in on a little secret only the locals know—the real magic happens in the fall. You can just about name your pleasure and it is probably heightened during the season we derogatorily call “slack.” The nights turn cold and the leaves explode in their extravagance. The trout sense the lean times of winter and throw caution to the wind in their attempts to get your fly. The valley welcomes a series of winged visitors from the north starting with the gawky and boisterous sandhill cranes and followed by squadrons of ducks and geese. The fall also turns the normally elusive elk into wide-eyed, forest virtuosos with their haunted bugling. In all, we are blessed to have all these natural wonders intact and thriving just out our back doors. It truly is paradise. We must remain vigilant to ensure that the most sensitive lands and waters that make up the heart of the Wood River Valley remain healthy. Thanks again for your support. Please get out and enjoy what remains of this glorious fall. The snow will be flying soon.


n these uncertain financial times, we need your support more than ever. Please take this opportunity to prioritize your giving to support the things you most value. For us, the Valley would not be the same if we could not spend the day catching wild trout in our clean, healthy rivers or see the elk, moose, owls, hawks, and other animals in our close-to-home natural areas. The greatest portion of our annual funding comes from individuals like you—people who love the land and water and want to see it protected and cared for not only today but always. Wood River Land Trust is the only locally-based organization focusing its efforts on protecting local land, water, and wildlife habitat. This past year, Wood River Land Trust protected ¾ mile of Big Wood Riverfront just south of Hailey using voluntary conservation agreements with two local landowners; we also restored a portion of the Croy Creek wetlands at the site of Hailey’s former landfill and hosted events to get people out on the land and sharing experiences through events like our Mushroom Walk at Draper Wood River Preserve and the Heart of the Valley Contest. To continue protecting our nearby land, water, and wildlife habitat now and for future generations, it takes the concerted efforts of everyone who enjoys these things today. Please consider making a gift to our year-end challenge grant. This year’s challenge requires us to raise $360,000 in unrestricted gifts by December 31st in order to receive $180,000 donated by an anonymous donor and Wood River Land Trust’s Board of Directors. This means that every dollar you donate before the end of the year will be matched by an additional $0.50. Your unrestricted gifts help pay for the basic necessities—dedicated professional staff, office space, and general office needs—that make our work possible. This year it is more important than ever that we reach our Challenge. If, like us, you treasure the local wildlife, clean water, pristine landscapes, and family farmland that Wood River Land Trust helps protect, please make a contribution today!

Year-End Challenge Goal: $360,000 Amount Raised as of November 13: $225,165 Amount Needed to Meet Challenge: $134,835 We’ll be in the office during the holidays so feel free to stop by or call. For questions about making a donation, contact Robyn Watson at 788-3947, rwatson@woodriverlandtrust.org, or (818) 577-7811. Wood River Land Trust is a tax-exempt non-profit organization; donations are tax-deductible.

Visit the Building Material Thrift Store

Meet Our Board

at its new location

Barbara Thrasher


arbara Thrasher and her husband, Rick Koffey, became part-time residents of the Wood River Valley in 1999. In the winter, Barbara is an avid downhill and cross-country skier; in the summer, she enjoys hiking in the mountains that surround our community. These activities have given her an appreciation of our unique open spaces and the need to protect them. Barbara was concerned that many families, like hers, live here only part time, and she wondered who was keeping watch over the Valley when she wasn’t here. In 2001, Clark Gerhardt introduced her to Wood River Land Trust, and she became convinced that Wood River Land Trust was the ideal organization to protect the Valley’s natural beauty. She joined our Board of Directors at that time and has served as a member for the last eight years. Barbara has numerous other interests as well. Three years ago she co-founded the Wood River Women’s Charitable Foundation, which has distributed more than $250,000 to charities in our community. She has been active in fundraising for the Blaine County Recreation District in support of the Harriman Trails Endowment and was the originator of the annual high tea, which raises money to support the trail system (and provides perhaps the only opportunity for women in the Wood River Valley to wear extremely large hats and long gloves in the summer). In Seattle, where she and Rick live when they are not in the Valley, Barbara served for many years on the Board of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Barbara Thrasher

3930 S. Woodside (208) 788-0014


Meet Our Staff

Kathryn Goldman, Project Coordinator


athryn moved to the Wood River Valley from Durango, Colorado in 2003 and joined our staff in March of 2005. Originally from Vermont, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Vermont and, after traveling and living in several Western states, earned her Masters of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana in Missoula. The Big Wood River is the focus of Kathryn’s work here at the Land Trust. She is responsible for the Trout Friendly Lawn program, which has just completed its 2nd successful year, the Healthy Water, Healthy Future project, and she has worked with waterfront homeowners to help them deal with floodplain issues. While many people think that the mountains define our wonderful Valley, Kathryn is passionate in her belief that the River is the most important feature. Kathryn is a member of the Bellevue Planning & Zoning Commission, and she has worked on various state and county ballot measures both in Idaho

Kathryn Goldman, Project Coordinator

and Colorado. When not working for the environment, she likes to enjoy all things outdoors: backcountry and cross-country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, gardening, and, in a more introspective mood, yoga. She lives in Bellevue with her husband, Carl Evenson, and their lucky dog, Mattie.


connecting Winter 2008 Events


Share the Spirit Reception Friday, December 5, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Kick off the Share the Spirit weekend with a reception generously catered by Riccabona’s. Silver Creek Outfitters, Ketchum

Share the Spirit Friday-Sunday, December 5-7

Complete your holiday shopping this weekend when Silver Creek Outfitters will donate 15% of the weekend’s sales to Wood River Land Trust. Silver Creek Outfitters, Ketchum

Sagebrush Seed Collection Wednesday, December 10, 10:00 a.m.

Join us to collect sagebrush seed for restoration work with Idaho Fish and Game. Please dress for the weather and bring a lunch. Meet at Wood River Land Trust’s Hailey office to carpool. Wood River Land Trust, 119 E. Bullion Hailey


Business After Hours Thursday, January 15, 5:30 p.m.

Join Bruce Tidwell and the Building Material Thrift Store crew for an open house in their new space. Building Material Thrift Store, 3930 S. Woodside

Be the First to See this Year’s Heart of the Valley Photographs Save the Date for Wednesday, January 21st when we will announce this year’s contest winners at a public reception.

Sponsored by:

Media sponsor: Special thanks to:

Heart of the Valley Contest Awards Reception Wednesday, January 21, 6:00 p.m.

Join us for the announcement of this year’s contest winners and view photography submissions. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served. 684 4th Street (corner of 4th & Spruce), Ketchum

Fish Tales Wednesday, January 28, 6:00 p.m.

Share your stories about the Big Wood River at this family-friendly storytelling event. Location to be announced

FEBRUARY Prizes generously donated by:

Heart of the Valley Contest Readings Dates to be announced, 6:30 p.m.

Join us for selected readings from the 5th Annual Heart of the Valley Contest. Iconoclast Books, Ketchum

Winter Wildlife Walk Friday, February 27, 10:30 a.m.


Join our resident naturalist, Nathan Welch for a family-friendly walk along the Big Wood River as he shares his expertise on birds and animal tracks. Draper Wood River Preserve, Cedar Bend Entrance, Hailey

to the land A Record Crowd Attends the Howard Community Picnic


beautiful early fall evening on the banks of the Big Wood River: blue skies, warm weather. A neighborhood gathering of good friends, old and new. On September 13th, the Howard Community Picnic in Bellevue drew 200 people who enjoyed a feast of barbequed lamb donated by Lava Lake, quail, local trout and morels, chili and beans, salads, garlic bread, and an array of drinks and desserts. The annual event is sponsored by Wood River Land Trust and the City of Bellevue with an open invitation to all Valley residents to visit the Howard Preserve. Carol Blackburn, our favorite botanist, led a nature walk along the quiet canal road under cottonwood trees to point out the plants, trees, and animals inhabiting the 12-acre Howard Preserve. Music perfect for the location was provided by Matt Renner and Slow Children Playing. The Howard Preserve was created in 2004 thanks to a partnership between the Howard family, Wood River Land Trust, the City of Bellevue, Friends of Howard, and many interested organizations and individuals. The Howard family had owned the parcel since 1972 and, in order to protect it in perpetuity and keep it as a natural preserve with public access, they approached Wood River Land Trust to facilitate a bargain sale with the City of Bellevue. Mike Howard returns each fall to manage the annual picnic. He brings with him help from the restaurant at his Tres Pinos Inn in California and his cooking expertise. “It makes me happy to do this picnic each year,” Mike said. “Involvement with the Land Trust and friendships I’ve made in Bellevue and the Valley bring me back each year. I love it here.” We thank Mike and the Howard family for their generosity. Kudos too to Tom Blanchard who grilled the mouthwateringly delicious lamb, and thanks to all the volunteers who make this picnic such fun each year!

Picnicking at Howard Preserve in Bellevue

WOOD RIVER LAND TRUST Protecting the Heart of the Valley Board of Directors Ed Cutter, President Jack Kueneman, Vice President Joan Swift, Treasurer Robin Garwood, Secretary David Anderson Jerry Bashaw John Flattery John French Clark Gerhardt Trent Jones Heather King Liz Mitchell Wolf Riehle John Fell Stevenson Steve Strandberg Barbara Thrasher Doris Tunney Liz Warrick

WRLT Staff Scott Boettger Executive Director

Morgan Buckert Membership Assistant

Melanie Dahl Executive Assistant

Kathryn Goldman Project Coordinator

Diane Kahm Development Assistant

Heather Kimmel Program & Membership Coordinator

Robyn Watson Major Gifts Officer

Nathan Welch Planning Coordinator

Keri York

Stewardship Coordinator

Now and for the Future Advisory Committee Peter Becker Ranney Draper Rebekah Helzel Dave Parrish Larry Schoen John Seiller Tom Swift Bruce Tidwell This newsletter is published by:

Wood River Land Trust 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


thank you for helping us achieve our goals A Gift to Protect Land and Inspire Others


Gloria and John Osberg outside their Baker Creek cabin

Non-Profit & Government Partners Thank you to the non-profit organizations and government entities who have partnered with us on projects and programs between November 2007 and October 2008!


Blaine County Blaine County Citizens for Water & Wildlife Blaine County Flood District Blaine County Probation Department Blaine County Weed Management Area Blaine Soil Conservation District City of Hailey City of Ketchum ERC Hailey Department of Parks & Lands Hailey Environmental Leadership Program (HELP) Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Idaho Department of Fish & Game Idaho Rivers United Lava Lake Institute for Science & Conservation Sawtooth Botanical Garden Sustain Blaine The Nature Conservancy Trout Unlimited YAK!

ohn and Gloria Osberg have lived and skied in the Sun Valley area for over 50 years. In 2006, they donated their longtime home to Idaho Conservation League, The Wilderness Society, and Wood River Land Trust. The home was recently appraised at over $2 million, and proceeds from the home’s sale will be shared equally by the three organizations. The Osbergs hope that sharing their story will inspire others to make similar gifts of “appreciated real estate.” “I think it feels great,” Osberg says, “to see money doing good things while you are still around to experience it.” Having supported a number of local, state, and national conservation groups over the years, the Osbergs set about using what John calls their “appreciated real estate” to advance the causes in which they believe. “The appreciated value of our home was unearned income,” he explains, “and we want to see that appreciated value put to work to protect the Idaho we love and that has enriched our life so very much.” He added, “I see no advantage to holding on to it and being one of the rich guys in the cemetery.” This is why the Osbergs drew up an estate plan, known as a “life estate reserved.” This approach allows homeowners to donate real estate to non-profit organizations while remaining in their homes as long as they wish and providing immediate tax deductions and avoiding capital gains tax. The Osbergs have shared an eventful life in the Sun Valley area. Gloria worked for Sun Valley and the Union Pacific Railroad during the 1950s and is the author of Day Hiking Near Sun Valley and Easy Hiking Near Sun Valley. John is an avid skier and long-time member of the Ancient Skiers club from the Seattle area. Together, they have travelled extensively on Arctic rivers and other wilderness adventures. Now, after years of enjoying natural areas in the Wood River Valley, they can see the home they’ve lived in all these years go to protect the places they love. To learn more about how you too can use “appreciated real estate” to support Wood River Land Trust’s protection of the places you love, contact your estate planner or our Major Gifts Officer, Robyn Watson, at (208) 788-3947 or rwatson@woodriverlandtrust.org.

BLM Land

Original Conservation Agreement Boundary

State Land

Wood River Land Trust Land New Conservation Agreement Boundary

Colorado Gulch in winter

Additional Protection for Colorado Gulch


hanks to two generous families, Wood River Land Trust protected an additional 51 acres at Colorado Gulch this fall. Grant, Sheri, and Cat Stevens and Jeff Pfaeffle have donated a 51-acre conservation agreement in Colorado Gulch to Wood River Land Trust that includes ¾ mile of riverfront on the east side of the Big Wood River. This area is adjacent to the 103 acres the Stevens’ and Pfaeffle protected in 2007 using another voluntary conservation agreement. Together, these agreements protect 154 acres in Colorado Gulch and contribute to the corridor of protected or restored land that stretches from Lions Park in Hailey south to Colorado Gulch. This second conservation agreement limits development on the property’s farmland and protects the cottonwood forest and native plants in the floodplain. The cottonwood forest provides winter habitat for bald eagles, elk, moose, and mule deer while the native plants preserve the area’s floodplain functions. The area is an important link in the future of the fishery, and protecting this area safeguards habitat for wildlife and allows the river to move within the floodplain to create and maintain fish habitat. This area along the Big Wood River is also a popular destination for fishing, hiking, and mountain biking.

Protecting Big Game Animals’ Room to Roam Continued from cover and sage stretching as far as our eyes could see. As winter advances, tracks throughout the Wood River Valley will tell the story of animals passing through the area seeking refuge from the harsh higher elevation winters and the hardy people enjoying winter’s fresh snow and crisp blue skies.

Thank you to everyone who made this purchase possible!

Lyn and David Anderson The Lennox Foundation The Draper Family Foundation Fund Elaine and John French The Macauley and Helen Dow Whiting Foundation The Lightfoot Foundation Richard C. Barker The Richard K. & Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation Dave Perkins and Nancy Mackinnon Mark Benjamin Chris Thompson Martha and Ross Jennings Lee D. Rowe, MD Diane and John Kahm Susan and Rudy Boesch Bobbie Boyer Dan Gilmore


WOOD RIVER LAND TRUST Protecting the Heart of the Valley

Now and for the Future

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

Printed locally on 50% recycled paper using soy-based inks

winter 2008 In This issue: Protecting Big Game Animals’ Room to Roam ...Page 1

Winter 2008 Events ...Page 4

A Record Crowd Attends the Howard Community Picnic...Page 5 A Gift to Protect Land & Inspire Others...Page 6 Additional Protection for Colorado Gulch...Page 7 May’s Creek, permanently protected in 1999

Acres Permanently Protected With Your Support: 9,860


Profile for Wood River Land Trust