Washington County, Idaho – Active conservationists Tim and Joe Hixon have donated a conservation easement protecting 110 acres—known as Starveout Gulch--of important wildlife habitat bordering Payette National Forest in Washington County. The Nature Conservancy will hold the easement.
The property, located in Hells Canyon, is used by a variety of wildlife including elk, mule deer, mountain lion, black bear, white-headed woodpecker and several raptor species. The easement keeps the surrounding public national forest connected and unfragmented by unplanned development. The property will remain a working ranch and in private ownership.
“The whole corridor will be used for traditional uses, but it will never be crowded with people,” says landowner Joe Hixon.
This conservation easement donation builds on the Hixon brothers’ conservation legacy in western Idaho. In the 1980s, Tim and Karen Hixon donated funds for the Conservancy to purchase a 4200-acre ranch which contained the last population of Columbia sharp-tailed grouse in western Idaho. Known as the Hixon Sharptail Project, the effort to protect and restore these grouse has been a spectacular success, with grouse populations continuing to increase.
The Hixons have also donated nearby conservation easements protecting an additional 1,827 acres along the Wildhorse River in Hells Canyon.
“This conservation easement essentially keeps thousands of acres of public land whole and connected,” says Susanna Danner, the Conservancy’s director of protection. “Wildlife will continue to be able to move through these areas as they have always done.”
The Hixons envision a future for the area that continues to include abundant wildlife and ranching traditions. They also hope that the ranch can play a role in another conservation story.
“We hope we’ll see the restoration of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep to this area before we’re gone,” says Joe Hixon.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.