Honoring the Past and Looking to the Future
Fremont County Family Preserves 265 Acres
Honoring the past and looking to the future is important for many families. Recently a Fremont County family found the perfect way to make tribute to the hard work of generations who came before and create a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Lowell and Rayola Birch loved their land on the Henry’s Fork, they worked hard and made their farm productive. Along the way, they raised a family who loves the land as much as they did. Last week, their children protected their family farm forever. They created the Lowell E. and Rayola R. Birch Wildlife Conservation Easement, a voluntary protection agreement.
“This is a tribute to our parents,” one of the family members explained. “Our father loved the outdoors, really enjoyed being out. We also wanted this to be a place where the grandkids love to come because of the open space”
This important farm ground is also vital to many wildlife species that live along the river’s edge. The Teton Regional Land Trust and the Bureau of Land Management have worked with the landowners to create a lasting legacy for future generations, preserving wildlife habitat and keeping the farm in operation. With these 265 acres under conservation easement, the Teton Regional Land Trust celebrates over 30,000 acres protected in the region! Click below to read more about this project.
"I am proud of our partners and the work we are able to accomplish," said Bureau of Land Management’s Joe Kraayenbrink. “This property will supply an additional 265 acres of important riparian and wetland habitat in the Henry's Fork area and provide a crucial connection to numerous other wildlife management areas."
“This is where our family comes to get away, this is home” a family member said of the farm. “I wanted a safe place for family to spend their time and also a safe place for animals”
The family’s decision to protect their cherished ground will ensure that their grandchildren and great grandchildren will be able to enjoy the family farm forever.
The conservation easement which protects the family farm is a legal agreement that allows for farming and ranching on the property but permanently restricts the type and amount of future development that can occur on the property. Conservation easements not only preserve scenic views and wildlife habitat, they also preserve the agricultural way of life.
“We want to be able to continue farming and protect the wildlife, both are important to us” a family member explained. “You can’t get it back, once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
The family has farmed many different crops throughout the years and will continue to grow several types of grain and hay. They appreciate the balance of farming and wildlife habitat and enjoy seeing numerous types of wildlife on their property including sandhill cranes, raptors, songbirds, deer and moose.
“This protection is a wonderful example of the balance that can be found between agricultural practices and wildlife habitat,” Teton Reigonal Land Trust Executive Director Chet Work said. “We are grateful to families like these who see the value of protecting land for all of its values”
The family looks forward to watching future generations enjoy this protected property, spending time exploring the wooded river’s edge, riding horses, holding family reunions and camping.
“This place is great, you can watch the sunrise over the Tetons and then turn around and watch the sun set over the river” said a family member. “We liked this process because it’s guaranteed forever, they can’t take it away.”