Woods Creek Fen is a 60-acre wetland property owned by the Teton Regional Land Trust and managed as an outdoor classroom for students and the community to learn more about fens and wetlands in the region. Students from local schools as well as Audubon groups, rare plant societies and other community members are invited to gather at the Fen to enjoy wildlife, rare plants, spring creeks and sump holes.
Fens are wetlands with peat soils that are primarily influenced by ground water. Peat is formed when seasonal water fluctuation is stabilized and standing water creates anaerobic conditions that reduce decomposition of plant material and allow peat accumulation. Due to the complexities of peat formation, fens may take thousands of years to develop and are considered irreplaceable wetlands. Woods Creek Fen is recognized as one of seven wetlands deserving special conservation consideration in the Upper Snake River Watershed because of its importance to conserving rare plant habitats and maintaining wetland and aquatic diversity in Idaho. Furthermore, Woods Creek Fen has been characterized as the most floristically unique wetland in Teton County, Idaho. Seven rare plant species have been documented within the Woods Creek Fen Property.
The Teton Regional Land Trust recently completed a new educational kiosk area at the Woods Creek Fen Property. The area includes signage that explains background information about fens and informs the visitor of plant and wildlife species they may see on property. A “treasure hunt” area leads youth visitors through the seasons at Woods Creek Fen. The area also includes a platform and spotting scope for viewing the fen. This project was made possible by Debbie and Stu Tenney, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many other generous partners.■