- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A conservation easement will protect 380 acres of one of Jackson Hole’s first ranches and belongs to a family that includes Gov. Matt Mead.

The land in Spring Gulch is part of the 1,500-acre Mead Ranch and is located one of the few large undeveloped areas left in private hands in Teton County.

Brad Mead, the brother of Gov. Mead, said the family is “pleased to think that future residents and visitors can look across the meadows in Spring Gulch and see essentially the same views Peter Christofferson Hansen did when he settled there almost a century ago” in 1918.

Cliff Hansen, a former Wyoming governor and U.S. senator, was raised there. He died in 2009 at age 97.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reported (https://tinyurl.com/pdxbg94 ) that the land being preserved has been ranched by Hansen’s descendants for four generations. It’s now the home ranch of Mead Ranch Natural Beef.

The deal arranged by the JacksonHole Land Trust maintains open land and the area’s ranching heritage, and also preserves a clear view of the Grand Teton for people looking north from Wyoming Highway 22. Besides the scenic value, the land is home to elk, mule deer and moose, and also provides migration routes for the animals.

Preservation of the land has been a goal of the Land Trust for years, said Laurie Andrews, executive director of the group.

“It’s been a dream of ours to protect more land in Spring Gulch, together with the ranching families that own the remaining large, open spaces that are otherwise vulnerable to development,” Andrews said. “We are grateful to the Mead family for working with us to make this conservation priority a reality.”

Land Trust board president Fred Staehr said he will “be thankful to the Mead family and the generous donors that have made this conservation project possible . every time I drive along Highway 22 and look up that valley.”

Easements completed in 2001 and 2006 protected 211 acres at the southern tip of the ranch. The land being added is to the north.

Money for the latest easements came from donors to the Land Trust’s Forever Our Valley campaign and a loan from the Bank of Jackson Hole. Forever Our Valley is a $35 million campaign begun in 2016 that has already protected more than 600 acres in the Jackson Hole valley.


Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com

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