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Teton Regional Land Trust Announces New Executive Director

Joselin Photo 1 The staff and Board of Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) are proud to announce Joselin Matkins as their new Executive Director. TRLT received over 68 applications for the position and took on a three-part interview process that lasted almost five months. In the end, the Teton Regional Land Trust Board of Directors unanimously selected Matkins to be the new leader of the organization.  

Matkins brings 14 years of land trust experience to TRLT. She served for five years as the Executive Director of Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust in Pocatello, Idaho and has served as the president of the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts (ICOLT) since 2009. For the last two years, Joselin worked for TRLT as the Land Protection Director where she established strong relationships with landowners, supporters, and partners, completed several conservation projects, and led the organization’s reaccreditation application which was awarded in February 2015. 

Matkins will fill the role previously held by Chet Work, who left TRLT for an opportunity to serve as the Executive Director of The Land Trust of Santa Barbara County. Throughout the hiring process, Tamara Sperber served as the Interim Executive Director and Matkins will take over as Executive Director effective March 16, 2015. This transition comes at an exciting time for TRLT as they are celebrating their silver anniversary and recently surpassed 32,000 acres of protected, farms, ranches, and critical wildlife habitat in east Idaho. TRLT is very excited about their accomplishments and looks forward to even greater success in the years to come. 

“It is such an honor to be selected to lead such a prestigious organization. This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.  I am excited to step into the role as Teton Regional Land Trust celebrates 25 years of conservation success in east Idaho. I look forward to building on that success with one of the best land trusts in the country. Together with our great board, staff and community we can continue to be a leader in the protection of the intrinsic values that draw so many to our special corner of Idaho”, Joselin Matkins, Executive Director Teton Regional Land Trust.

 Matkins received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Colorado. She started her land trust journey as an intern with the Wood River Land Trust before returning to graduate school at Oregon State University. There she received her Master of Science degree from the College of Forestry, Department of Forestry and Ecosystems and Society. 

“As a fourth generation Idahoan who knows us, and knows our special landscape, Joselin is the perfect person to lead our efforts to conserve our place for present and future generations,” Tim Hopkins, TRLT Board of Directors President. 

Matkins’ family homesteaded in Roberts, Idaho before settling near Mud Lake.   Matkins was born in Pocatello and grew up in the Wood River Valley.   Her personal interests easily align with TRLT’s mission of protecting critical land in east Idaho. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and floating local rivers.

The Teton Regional Land Trust will be introducing Matkins as the new Executive Director to the community, land trust members, and landowners throughout the region this spring and summer. For your chance to meet Matkins in her new capacity, please visit the TRLT website or follow us on Facebook for the announcement of upcoming events. 

The Teton Regional Land Trust works to preserve important agricultural lands and fish and wildlife habitat in Eastern Idaho for the benefit of present and future generations. For more information about Teton Regional Land Trust, please call 208-354-8939 or stop by the office at 1520 South 500 West, Driggs, Idaho 83422.


180 Acres of Critical Habitat conserved

Goble property

The Teton Regional Land Trust recently partnered with the LOR Foundation and other private donors to permanently protect 180 acres of land on Sage Creek Ranch north of Tetonia, ID. The property is adjacent to Teton Regional Land Trust’s Petzoldt Preserve at the headwaters of Spring Creek near Hatch’s Corner, the north end of Teton County. 

This beautiful piece of land is part of the Spring Creek Marsh, a large wetland area that hosts a wide variety of plant and animal species. Conserving this property adds an additional 50 acres of protected wetlands to those already protected by the Petzoldt Preserve, and 140 acres of upland pasture and native sagebrush shrub land are protected from future residential development. Conserving this property provides scenic open space and critical wildlife habitat for members of the general public, forever. 

Spring Creek flows south through the property and then west gathering waters from Middle and North Leigh Creeks before entering the Teton River about eight miles downstream. The wetlands that feed Spring Creek cover an area of about 300 acres and provide important nesting and foraging habitat for Sandhill cranes. Conserving the Spring Creek wetland has added a significant measure of protection for these beautiful, iconic birds. The property also provides foraging and winter habitat for Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse, a bird listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need by the Idaho Fish and Game in 2005.

The Spring Creek Property and its associated wetlands and uplands provide excellent foraging habitat for a number of raptors as well. Birds seen on the property include the Great-horned Owl, Short-eared Owl, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Rough Legged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk and Swainson’s Hawk. Mammals that inhabit the property include the badger, red fox, white-tail deer, mule deer, and coyote. Spring Creek also provides habitat for both Eastern brook trout and for Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Forever protecting this critical wetland habitat will ensure that these mammals, birds, and fish continue to thrive in this spectacular piece of land in Eastern Idaho. 

“Preservation of this quality biological marsh is fundamental to maintaining the nature of the West Slope Valley of the Tetons. The Goble and Caspari families are proud to partner with the Teton Land Trust in attempting to preserve, forever, what attracts all of us to this special place.” – E. Marlowe Goble, property owner.

 “It was my pleasure to work with landowners to protect critical wetland habitat, while maintaining sustainable ranching practices and scenic open space. The protection of this property builds on the nearly 11,000 acres or wildlife habitat and working farms and ranches protected in Teton Valley by the Land Trust,” – Joselin Matkins, Land Protection Director.

The Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) works to preserve important agricultural lands and fish and wildlife habitat in eastern Idaho for the benefit of present and future generations. TRLT worked with private donors and the LOR Foundation out of Jackson, Wyoming to make this transaction a reality. The LOR Foundation seeks to enhance liveability of the inter-mountain west by promoting efficient and sustainable land uses, context sensitive transportation choices, and cultural and recreational amenities, as a means to strengthen community, inform land use decisions, and preserve open spaces.

 To date, the Teton Regional Land Trust has conserved over 31,000 acres in the Upper Snake River Valley. For more information about land conservation or the Teton Regional Land Trust please visit www.tetonlandtrust.org or call 208-354-8939.

200 acres protected on the Pine Creek Bench (2)

Bradford1smThanks to willing landowners in Swan Valley, the Teton Regional Land Trust and the U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), another 200 acres of land is now available for wildlife habitat and public use on the Pine Creek Bench in Bonneville County.

 Its sage- and grass-covered highlands easily visible from the South Fork Snake River between Pine Creek and Dry Canyon, the property provides habitat for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, mule deer and elk.  A very deep well and watering trough offers a potential watering hole for wildlife in an otherwise dry landscape.

 The Teton Regional Land Trust facilitated the sale of this property to BLM.  Because the property lies within a national Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC),  the BLM’s management objectives for the property and surrounding public land along the South Fork Snake River are to maintain high quality riparian habitat, provide critical nesting and wintering areas for bald eagles, and maintain high quality big game winter range.

Iconic Views Protected in Teton Canyon

Russo property The drive up Ski Hill Road to Grand Targhee Resort is awe-inspiring with breathtaking Teton mountain views. Thanks to the generosity of Frank and Maryann Russo, 70 acres of that magnificent beauty is now protected, forever. In July of 2014, the Russos purchased half of a 140-acre ranch at the base of Teton Canyon in a local auction. The Russo family has since worked with the Teton Regional Land Trust to conserve the property with a conservation easement.

This newly protected property lies adjacent to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and will stay largely undeveloped while remaining in the private ownership of the Russo family. Approximately one half mile of Mill Creek, a tributary of Teton Creek, flows through the property and nearly three quarters of one mile of the Pratt canal also flows through the property. These water ways support mature riparian vegetation that provides habitat for trout, big game, large carnivores, raptors, and songbirds.

Tamara Sperber, Interim Executive Director for the Land Trust explained, “This conservation easement protects remarkable scenic views for folks traveling along the Ski Hill Road and the Forest Service road to Teton Canyon. The property’s views, agricultural character and wildlife will impress passersby, forever.” 

The Russos very generously donated the conservation easement and gave up a portion of their development rights to protect this incredible piece of land. Frank Russo described their reasoning behind wanting to protect the property. “The Teton Valley is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I say this having lived on four continents and travelled to two others. Some places are as special but none more beautiful. Maryann and I have seen how unmanaged development can ruin natural beauty.  Our hope is that others with similar experience and opportunity who live in and love Teton Valley will see the intrinsic value in protecting the natural beauty that surrounds those fortunate to come here”.

“The Russos had an extraordinary opportunity to purchase one of the most iconic properties in Teton Valley. By maintaining this property’s scenic views, they have really given a gift to our community,” said Renee Hiebert, Land Protection Specialist.        

The Russo’s plans for the property include using the land primarily for agriculture as it is today.  “We reserved a small portion of the 70 acres for a barn, yurt and a stone cottage.  We specifically limited the size and height of these structures and sited them so that they blend in or are unseen from Ski Hill and Teton Canyon roads”, explained Frank Russo. 

The Teton Regional Land Trust has worked with many willing landowners for the last twenty-five years to protect over 31,000 acres of land with conservation easements. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that allows for farming and ranching of properties as well as limited residential construction, but permanently restricts the amount and type of future development.

For more information about this conservation easement or the Teton Regional Land Trust please call 208-354-8939 or visit www.tetonlandtrust.org.






240 Acres on Pine Creek Bench Protected

WINTERFELD PROPERTY Atop the Pine Creek Bench near Swan Valley, Idaho lies 240 acres of farm land owned by the Henry Winterfeld Family since 1940. Currently, the privately-owned land is enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program with the National Resources Conservation Service and a portion is a working dry farm for native wildflower and grass seed. This beautiful piece of property will now forever be protected from residential development by a conservation easement that was finalized late last week. The Winterfeld family worked with the Teton Regional Land Trust and Bureau of Land Management to complete the easement. Funds used for purchasing the easement were provided by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF was created by Congress in 1964 to provide funds and matching grants to federal, state, and local governments for the acquisition of land and interests in land, for the benefit of all Americans. 

The protection of the Winterfeld property is critical as the land provides year-around habitat for Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse, a species of greatest conservation need in Idaho’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. The area also lies within a bald eagle nesting territory and provides habitat for big game such as elk, moose, and mule deer as they migrate to and from their winter range. Landowners like the Henry Winterfeld Family have worked with Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Teton Regional Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and JKL Foundation to permanently protect over 4,700 acres or 49 percent of the private ground on the Pine Creek Bench overlooking the South Fork of the Snake River.

“It’s inspiring to see so many landowners, agencies and organizations come together with a common vision to protect a landscape for wildlife and agriculture. The Pine Creek Bench is a true conservation success story”, says Renee Hiebert, Land Protection Specialist with Teton Regional Land Trust. The Winterfeld’s private property remains in their name and the conservation easement is held by the Bureau of Land Management. A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that allows for farming and ranching but permanently restricts the type and amount of future development that can occur on the property.

For more information about conservation easements visit www.tetonlandtrust.org or call 208-354-8939.