Saturday, August 8, 2020
Wood River Land Trust Has No Shortage Of Projects as It Celebrates 25
Jennifer Haemmerle shows off one of the seed bombs she made during the Colorado Gulch ribbon cutting ceremony.
Saturday, December 7, 2019


Indian Creek residents Julie Weston and Gerry Morrison’s watched intently as Scott Boettger pointed out an old mining road that ran along a wetland bordered by bushy willows in shades of yellows and greens.

“You can imagine how the loss of this habitat would affect wildlife, even humans,” Boettger told them. “We put a counter on the Bow Bridge near here, and it gets 50,000 people a year crossing it. Conserving this will allow so many to experience this magnificent wetland. It’s so unique in that it makes us feel so far from town, even though we’re just down the street from downtown Hailey.”

Weston had a particular interest in the 118-acre Simons/Bauer Preserve that lies between the Draper Preserve/Lions Park and Mountain Humane.

Ryan Santo affixed the sign identifying the Colorado Gulch Preserve just minutes before the ribbon was cut on the project.

Her family had had a cabin at Ponderosa State Park in McCall for 73 years—a cabin that had recently been razed by the Idaho Parks and Recreation Department. She had responded by taking some of the money in her family trust and giving it to the Land Trust to help preserve the newest preserve topping its list of must-saves.

“I wanted a place for people to enjoy like we did that cabin for so many years,” she said. “This is a gorgeous property. And I can just see people walking on the path, maybe even get in the water. It’s such a good place for kids to play, a reason for them to get outside away from their screens.”

Weston and Morrison are among countless donors who have helped the Wood River Land Trust protect 26,000 acres of area land over the past 25 years. The list of 75 projects include the seven-acre Box Car Bend Preserve protected in 1996, the Howard Valley Creek Preserve near Stanley and 1,278 conservation acres in Quigley Canyon.

The Land Trust will celebrate its successes at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, when it throws a silver anniversary party at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum. A short movie narrated by Sun Valley native Mariel Hemingway will be shown that evening. (To reserve your seat, call 208-788-3947).

A mother introduces her toddler to nature via the path that wanders through the Colorado Gulch.

“The next 10 years will be crucial in protecting key properties,” said Boettger. “You look at properties like the Reinheimer Ranch. Thankfully, it was protected. It’s just a shame we weren’t able to do this with properties like the Warm Springs Ranch years ago.”

The Simons/Bauer Preserve, for which the Land Trust is still collecting money, features an artesian spring that is crucial for area wildlife and trout, he said. The water there is a cool 58 degrees on the hottest summer day and a warm 58 degrees when it’s 14 degrees outside.

In addition, he said, the acquisition of the property will allow the Land Trust and others to use the land to help mitigate spring flooding downstream.

The flood of 2017 took out a bridge further downstream at Colorado Gulch at Hailey’s south end. And the Land Trust is working with the county to design a pedestrian bridge to replace that bridge as part of the Colorado Gulch Preserve it was able to acquire in 2018.

Gunner Boettger and Jake Gorham were among the helped build the arch and kiosk and signage signifying the Colorado Gulch Preserve.

Members of the Land Trust’s Student Conservation Council cut the ribbon on that Preserve last month in a short ceremony that boasted grilled peaches and hot apple cider in keeping with the seasons.

Sayler Beck and Sam Laski showed Mayor Fritz Haemmerle and his wife Jennifer Haemmerle how to build seed bombs out of goldenrod, penstemon, yarrow and native milkweed. The seeds were launched with slingshots into what will be known as the Colorado Gulch Pollinator Meadow.

“Colorado Gulch going to be so cool,” said Laski. “It’s a nice addition to the trail system, which goes all the way to the Draper Preserve.

“It’s a very unique ecosystem, an excellent fishing spot,” said WRLT Project Manager Ryan Santo. “It’s super cool because it leads into the Colorado Gulch canyon. And it’s an ideal spot to open up the flood plain to let the river do its thing to prevent flooding downstream.”

Gunner Boettger and Jake Gorham were among the helped build the arch and kiosk and signage signifying the Colorado Gulch Preserve.

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