The Hailey-based Wood River Land Trust has accepted an anonymous gift of 17 acres of land adjacent to a recently approved mid-valley subdivision. The property is in an area where deer and elk are known to congregate in the winter.
At the request of the donor, the exact location of the land is not being disclosed.
"This new donation is an example of how even small subdivisions can balance growth and wildlife protections," said Scott Boettger, executive director of the land trust. "If we continue to grow as a community and still respect the wildlife that makes this area unique, we'll need to set aside areas that allow these magnificent animals to survive. As one of the wealthiest communities in the state, we can afford to set aside crucial habitats to assure we don't drive out the remaining wildlife that also calls the valley home."
David Parrish, regional supervisor of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, agreed.
"Folks in the Wood River Valley need to make a decision soon on whether they want wildlife to persist in the future or only be a part of the historic past," he said. "Protecting habitat through conservation and 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."
The donated land will be added to the other Wood River Land Trust preserves that are permanently protected pieces of land owned by, cared for, and restored by the land trust. The preserves are open to the public for fishing, hiking, bird and wildlife watching and other activities.