Securing a Place for Wildlife, Scenic Views and Ranching
Pinedale, WY | May 05, 2016
Wildlife including elk, mule deer, moose and greater sage-grouse enjoy stronger protections today, thanks to a conservation easement on the 1,268-acre Fenn Ranch. Also known as the Tyler Place, the property is near the town of Pinedale. The Fenn Ranch consists primarily of wet meadows and riparian habitat important for numerous waterfowl species, and provides critical nesting habitat for trumpeter swans.
The Green River Valley Land Trust launched this project in 2011, engaging the primary funders to make this dream a reality.
The Nature Conservancy, Green River Valley Land Trust, and The Fenn Family worked together to protect this parcel because it’s home to critical wildlife habitat, supports local ranching and provides stunning views from a Wyoming Scenic Byway. Increasing and fast-moving development threaten those values.
“Places like our ranch are disappearing fast. That’s why this collaboration is so important to my family,” says Mike Fenn, landowner. “By protecting this pristine place, wildlife can thrive and the stunning views will be enjoyed by generations to come. We’re outdoor enthusiasts and appreciate all of nature’s wonders.“
The Fenn Ranch provides summer habitat for pronghorn, winter range for mule deer and is home to moose year-round. This property also lies in core greater sage-grouse habitat, a designation of two Wyoming governors including Matt Mead; the designation has been supported by a variety of interests including ranchers, industry and conservation groups. The iconic bird of the West narrowly escaped an “endangered” listing by the Fish and Wildlife Service last fall; the agency recognized that the core area strategy is vital to the sustainability of the greater sage-grouse. The unprecedented collaboration of many helped keep the bird off the list.
The ranch is located within a half mile of a wildlife overpass and underpass that helps facilitate important migration routes and ensures safe travel when it’s time for wildlife such as pronghorn and deer to move.
“This is a big win for nature and people,” says Paula Hunker, The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming’s Acting State Director. “A conservation easement is one way to voluntarily limit habitat fragmentation that can occur because of development. By conserving this ranch, we’re protecting important wildlife habitat as well as the local economy.”
In addition to the long list of reasons for protecting this rich wildlife habitat, the Fenn Ranch provides scenic views of the Wind River Mountains for residents and visitors from U.S. Highway 191, a Wyoming Scenic Byway.
This project was made possible by the following funding partners, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust, Wyoming Game and Fish, Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative, The Conservation Fund, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
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 unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.