September 29, 2020

Idaho's Caribou-Targhee National Forest Gains Priority Inholding

DRIGGS, Idaho — The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and The Conservation Fund announce that approximately 960 acres of land located in a remote forested area in Teton County, Idaho is now protected in perpetuity, thanks to a partnership that also includes the Teton Regional Land Trust, supportive landowners at the Beartooth Group, Teton County Commissioners, the Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) and Idaho’s Congressional delegation.

The Maytag-Teton Timbers property has been a top Forest Service priority for protection in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest for several years. As a private inholding surrounded by public lands, the parcel created navigational issues for outdoor enthusiasts interested in accessing the national forest. The Forest Service’s acquisition of this property effectively helps consolidate the area within the northern end of the Big Hole Mountain range, eliminates subdivision threats, reduces wildland-urban interface fire concerns from the local community and protects critical wildlife habitat and watersheds. This conservation effort was made possible through funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which was permanently and fully funded by a new law enacted last month.

“The Maytag-Teton Timbers property is a prime example of LWCF working in a collaborative way,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “Engaging with the local community and ensuring their needs were met, was critical to the success of this project. I applaud the U.S. Forest Service and all the partners involved, for working diligently to accomplish this great project. When the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law last month, I said this bill is for future generations. The Maytag-Teton Timbers property will achieve this goal by opening up public access for Idahoans for centuries to come.”

With elevated views of the Tetons, a multitude of aspen groves and open meadows, the potential for residential subdivision on this property was incredibly high. The acquisition conserves open space, protects habitat from future development, mitigates wildfire risk and protects clean water for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people. This parcel is rich with water resources and encompasses stretches of Porcupine, Irene, Brown Bear and Hillman Creeks, as well as the upper reaches of Pack Saddle and Horseshoe Creeks.

“Protection of these critical riparian areas and headwaters stretches will ensure high-quality water flows from the upper reaches of Pack Saddle and Horseshoe Creeks to their confluence with the Teton River, a world class, blue ribbon trout fishery,” said Mel Bolling, Caribou-Targhee National Forest Supervisor.

The conservation of this private inholding ensures the American people, including hikers, hunters, equestrian riders, anglers, mountain bikers, snow sports enthusiasts and others will be able to use an additional 960-acres of public lands and eliminates future concerns about possible trespass issues on the property.

When the property went up for sale in 2017, The Conservation Fund began working with Beartooth Group and then stepped in to purchase the Maytag property in April 2020, allowing the Forest Service the necessary time needed to acquire funding. The Teton Regional Land Trust assisted The Conservation Fund in the effort to acquire, hold and ultimately transfer the land to the Forest Service.

“Partnerships and collaboration go a long way in making these important conservation projects viable,” said Mark Elsbree, Western Director and Senior Vice President at The Conservation Fund. “Securing the Maytag property for a community that highly values its public lands for wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities will have a lasting positive impact.”

“The Teton Regional Land Trust is happy to be a partner in this acquisition to incorporate the private inholding in the Big Hole Mountains into the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. This is a great outcome for the public and wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” stated Joselin Matkins, the land trust’s Executive Director.

“It is our mission to restore, enhance and protect critical properties throughout the West – and this transaction will be one of our proudest moments,” said Robert Keith, Founder and Managing Principal of Beartooth Group. “We started working with the Teton Regional Land Trust and The Conservation Fund before our acquisition in 2014 on how to make such an outcome occur. After demolition of a large and hazardous structure, clean-up associated with abandoned coal mining operations and a sustainable timber operation to improve forest health, The Conservation Fund made this goal a reality. It was truly a pleasure to be involved with this great group of partners in this wonderful transaction.”

“From my initial conversation with The Conservation Fund, and as a Board member with VARD, I was beyond thrilled and honored to present to them the opportunity to preserve the Maytag property,” said VARD Board Member Linda Unland. “Through the hard work of The Conservation Fund, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and many others, the project is coming to fruition. This is an exceptional shared legacy for the Teton Valley and generations to come.”

About Caribou-Targhee National Forest
The Caribou-Targhee National Forest occupies over 3 million acres and stretches across southeastern Idaho, from the Montana, Utah, and Wyoming borders. To the east, the Forest borders Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Most of the Caribou-Targhee is part of the 20-million acres Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and is also home to the Curlew National Grassland. The spectacular scenery of the Forest is easily reached from highways, byways and back doors. The bond between forest and community spans generations through family activities such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing and riding off-highway vehicles. During the winter, the forest offers vast expanses of untracked powder.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land, including over 135,000 acres in Idaho.

About Teton Regional Land Trust
Teton Regional Land Trust is a 501(c) (3) whose mission is to conserve working farms and ranches, fish and wildlife habitat, and scenic open spaces in eastern Idaho for this and future generations. For more information, please call 208-354-8939 or visit our website at:

About Valley Advocates for Responsible Development
Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) is Driggs, Idaho-based nonprofit with a mission of promoting open spaces, wild places, and vibrant towns in Teton Valley. We promote a synthesis of responsible development and sustainable use of rural and natural resources in Teton Valley, a key sub-region of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem that lies under 5 local government jurisdictions and two US States. Since our founding in 2001, we have influenced countless community planning decisions and have leveraged over $31 million toward conservation and community development efforts.

Val Keefer | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5802 |
Sarah Wheeler | U.S. Forest Service | 208-557-5765 |