DRIGGS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-The U.S. Forest Service and the Conservation Fund have completed a deal to protect a 960-acre forest inholding. The partnership also includes the Teton Regional Land Trust, supportive landowners of the Beartooth Group, Teton County, Idaho Commissioners, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development, and Idaho’s Congressional delegation.
The Caribou-Targhee National Forest has made the Maytag-Teton Timbers property a top priority for several years. Surrounded by public lands, the inholding created navigational issues for forest users of the national forest.
The Forest Service acquisition helps consolidate the area within the northern end of the Big Hole Mountain Range. In addition, the deal will eliminate subdivision threats, reduce wildland-urban interface fire concerns, and protect critical wildlife habitat and watersheds.
The property encompasses stretches of Porcupine, Irene, Brown Bear, and Hillman Creeks, as well as upper reaches of Pack Saddle and Horseshoe Creeks.
The project was made possible through funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund was fully funded by a new law sponsored by Congressman Mike Simpson and approved last month by Congress.
“The Maytag-Teton Timbers property is a prime example of LWCF working in a collaborative way,” said Simpson. “Engaging with the local community and ensuring their needs were met, was critical to the success of this project.”
The Conservation Fund began working with the Beartooth Group when the
property went up for sale in 2017.
“It is our mission to restore, enhance and protect critical properties throughout the West – and this transaction will be one of our proudest moments,” said Robert Keith, Founder and Managing Principal of Beartooth Group. “We started working with the Teton Regional Land Trust and The Conservation Fund before our acquisition in 2014 on how to make such an outcome occur. After demolition of a large and hazardous structure, clean-up associated with abandoned coal mining operations and a sustainable timber operation to improve forest health, The Conservation Fund made this goal a reality. It was truly a pleasure to be involved with this great group of partners in this wonderful transaction.”
The Teton Regional Land Trust called the acquisition a great outcome for the public and wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.