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Certain Land To Be Protected On The Wind River Front Range

USFWS Mountain-Prairie via CC BY 2.0

Sixty-eight and a half acres of land along the Wind River front range is now protected as a conservation easement - which is a voluntary legal agreement that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values.

The Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) holds the conservation rights to the property and will be in charge of enforcing any protection violations. Otherwise, the anonymous landowner is still allowed to manage the property as they would like.

"It's a partnership, first and foremost, with the landowner. To be there as a resource, [to look at] how best to manage the property to protect those ecological and cultural resources that might have been protected in the conservation easement," said Liz Long, director of conservation and interim co-director of JHLT.

The property, known as the Wind River Rookery, contains both riparian and aquatic habitat and connects to several other protected areas. According to Long, this increases the effectiveness of protections.

"When you're looking at one protected property along a river corridor or a stream corridor, those impacts intuitively reach up and down that corridor. And any protection along those are significant. But then when you can connect either other private properties that are protected or connect to public lands that are essentially protected or managed for conservation purposes, impacts are multiplied," said Long.

Small properties within or near developed areas are still important according to Long, but the impact isn't as large as connecting it to other protected areas.

Because JHLT holds the conservation rights, the property will be protected forever, even if the landowner sells it.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Ivy Engel, at iengel@uwyo.edu.

Ivy started as a science news intern in the summer of 2019 and has been hooked on broadcast since. She was supported by the Wyoming EPSCoR Summer Science Journalism Internship program. In the spring of 2020, she virtually graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in biology with minors of journalism and business. She continues to spread her love of science, wildlife, and the outdoors with her stories. When she’s not writing for WPR, she enjoys baking, reading, playing with her dog, and caring for her many plants.
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