Lanscape scenic of volcanic rock and sagebrush steppe
Cenarrusa Ranch The ranch contains critical wildlife habitat and migration corridors for a myriad of wildlife that include big game and sage grouse. © Tess O'Sullivan/TNC


The Nature Conservancy and BLM secure easement on historic Cenarrusa Ranch

Easement permanently protects 7,691 acres and over 3 miles of access routes to public lands, wildlife habitat.

  • Heather Tiel-Nelson
    Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Shoshone Field Office together with The Nature Conservancy in Idaho (TNC Idaho) have secured a conservation easement on a large ranch in the Pioneer Mountain foothills near Carey. The working ranch and the areas surrounding it contain critical wildlife habitat and migration corridors for a myriad of wildlife that include big game and sage grouse.  The easement ensures 3.16 miles of motorized and non-motorized access routes to public land and 7,691 acres will be protected for generations to come.

The easement was purchased through the High Divide Collaborative’s funding proposal for The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is generated from royalties from offshore oil leases.  

For the past several years, the Shoshone Field Office and TNC Idaho worked to ensure the conservation of this property. Included in the agreement is access across the property to large swaths of public land. “I’m really proud of this project—the acquisition of this conservation easement is significant as we have now secured public access for recreation and hunting opportunities,” said Shoshone Field Manager Codie Martin. “By working together, we have guaranteed a working ranch and farm will always be what it is today and the local economy will be able to continue to depend on its agriculture and livestock production.”

“One of the farthest pronghorn migration routes in the West—which is more than 160 miles round trip—crosses over the ranch. It’s the kind of place that makes Idaho Idaho,” said Tess O’Sullivan, Hailey-based conservation manager for TNC Idaho. “In a time of much change for the state, we are thankful to keep this area intact and we’re grateful to everyone who helped make this happen.”

The Cenarrusa Ranch is among the largest of several private ranches that have been conserved by the Pioneers Alliance within the vast area between the Pioneer Mountains and the Craters of the Moon National Monument. The open space, wildlife, water, agriculture and recreation found in this area are vital to the economies, communities and visitors to south central Idaho.

The securing of this easement accords with Secretary’s Order (SO) 3366, Increasing Recreation Opportunities on Lands and Waters Managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals. 

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.