JACKSON, Wyo. – By 2022, the Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) doubled the community-building power of protected open space. From growing WYLD membership and programming exponentially to leveraging national conservation funding, JHLT’s strategic efforts brought more people than ever before to the table with the shared goal of protecting the places they love .
As always, the JHLT created opportunities for this community to experience conservation first hand. In June, the JHLT invited the locals to celebrate the grand opening of the Green Space on the island. Protected in 2019 through an unprecedented community effort, the opening concert was a tribute to all the people who stepped up to Save the Block. In the months that followed, the JHLT hosted dozens of nonprofit partners from the Teton Raptor Center to the Teton Behavioral Health Alliance with the goal of maximizing this community space open to all.
R Park continued to bring people together in 2022. Beyond dog walks (on a leash!), sledding trips, and other family outings evident every day at this beloved community park, the JHLT was excited to welcome back to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s children’s fishery. Day. Both the winter and summer solstice celebrations were also back in full swing, welcoming R Park in support of community conservation. The JHLT supported other community organizations by hosting Coombs Outdoors and Wyoming Wildlife Federation camps and events such as Slow Food on the final stop of its annual food tour in the Tetons.
Since the launch of WYLD membership in early 2022, the JHLT has been overwhelmed with support and enthusiasm for this community-focused giving program. WYLD has grown into a community of 111 members, creating much-needed program maintenance and funding for beloved community open spaces like R Park and Greenspace on the Block. In total, WYLD’s support allowed the JHLT to partner with 26 community organizations over the summer.
The JHLT has also secured more than $1 million in public funding for active priority protection projects totaling 6,300 acres in northwestern Wyoming. This will add to more than 57,000 acres of existing JHLT conservation easements that protect critical water sources and wildlife habitat, ensure agricultural continuity and connect existing conservation areas in the Northwest from Wyoming. The JHLT is also in the process of expanding our conservation impact by creating a program focused on Park County. Scheduled to launch in early 2023, this regional management program will protect agricultural lands and wildlife habitat outside Yellowstone National Park.
This year, JHLT’s stewardship team partnered with conservation landowners to register the status of 2,235 acres of new conservation easements, in addition to all other acreage currently under easements. The JHLT also worked with our conservation partners, including the Teton Conservation District, JH Wildlife Foundation, JH Clean Water Coalition, and Teton Weed and Pest to improve the ecological function of easement properties. Projects such as removing old fences, restoring native vegetation, and establishing good management practices help improve habitats, protect migration routes, and protect water quality. The JHLT was also a lead partner in the creation of the Teton Conservation District’s Mountain Neighbor Handbook, available online and in print: mountainneighbor.org.
Three additional staff members joined the team in 2022: Land Steward Kerry Gold, Events and Outreach Associate Alexandra Munger and Conservation Projects Manager Madison Harper. The JHLT was also delighted to have additional capacity for the summer with managing associates Eric Gocke and Micah Melczer and Coombs Outdoors EMPOWER intern Nate Espejel. New board members include Mark Fisher, Mekki Jaidi and Anita Miles. Finally, the JHLT WYLD Advisory Board has grown to include Lucas Ayoub, Molly Broom, Robin Cameron, Aaron Carillo Hernandez, Julie Dery, Andy Flores-Cano, Laura Gaylord, Victor Hernandez, Kahlynn Huck, Mekki Jaidi, Tiffany Kelly, Elizabeth Martinez, and Hal Wheeler.
This community support has a huge impact for conservation on the ground which can be seen in the growing number of acres under easement and community spaces like R Park.
Consider a gift to the Jackson Hole Land Trust this year-end: jhlandtrust.org/donate.