Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Easement to protect gateway property

Donation made for 85-acre ranch near Timmerman

Express Staff Writer

    A donation of a conservation easement to the Wood River Land Trust by an anonymous donor will protect the 85-acre Gateway Ranch near the intersection of state Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 20.
    Gateway Ranch—bordered by private land—sits to the northwest of the well-traveled intersection.
    “For many years, my husband and I drove with our sons from Southern California to the valley. I did the long shift, driving all night while they all slept in the back of the van,” the anonymous donor told the Land Trust. “Coming over Timmerman Hill at 7 or 8 o’clock in the morning after a 16-hour drive, my breath was always taken away as we came down that hill, seeing the wide-open expanse. I knew at that moment we were “home,” a special place of wildlife and scenic beauty.
    “I want others who come here to experience that same feeling—that connection with nature—that I did. Protecting this land with the Wood River Land Trust is my way of ensuring this gift for future generations.”
    The addition of the Gateway Ranch easement furthers the Land Trust’s efforts to protect the scenic and agricultural character of the southern gateway to the Wood River Valley. Development will be restricted but conservation grazing practices will continue on the property.
    “This property is one of the most prominent in the area and helps define the open and welcome ‘Gateway to the Sawtooths’ that we all call Timmerman Junction,” said Scott Boettger, executive director of the Wood River Land Trust. “When I moved here 17 years ago, there was a sign on this property announcing it as a future commercial site. Now, with the generosity of this landowner, this land will forever remain open.”
Voluntary conservation easements are legal agreements between a landowner and the Land Trust. These agreements define a property’s uses to preserve the land’s health and resources such as its productive agriculture, native plants and wildlife habitat. When landowners enter into a conservation agreement, they voluntarily give up some of the rights associated with owning land in order to protect the land’s health. These limitations are binding forever, and future owners are also bound by the agreement’s terms.
    The nonprofit Wood River Land Trust is based in Hailey.

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