From peaks towering more than 10,000 feet to low-lying grasslands and wetlands, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest is a place of contrast and diversity. Encompassing nearly three million acres that frame the southeastern border of Idaho and reach into Wyoming and Utah, there are 16 different ecological zones found here. Most of the forest is part of the 18 million acre Greater Yellowstone Area, the most intact temperate ecosystem in the world.

In 2014, The Conservation Fund worked with the U.S. Forest Service to protect a 315-acre inholding within the forest. Thanks to the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund LWCF, which allowed the Forest Service to purchase the property, the land will be available for the public to enjoy. “Our family is leaving a legacy for future generations,” said Mike Halpin, the landowner. “We are proud to see the property become part of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.”  

Our Role

When the Halpin property became available in 2013, the Fund purchased the land and held it for the Forest Service until LWCF funding became available. The funding was approved by Congress with the support of the Idaho delegation and allowed the Forest Service, with assistance from The Conservation Fund, to acquire the land in February 2014.

Why This Project Matters

Protection of the McCoy Creek property prevents the development of poorly planned subdivisions within sensitive wildlife areas. This, in turn, will minimize the costs to taxpayers for fighting forest fires and ease the burden on the community’s emergency response resources.

The McCoy Creek property is also essential for maintaining access to the area’s popular recreational opportunities, such as hunting, fishing and snowmobiling. Containing 25 acres of wetlands, as well as McCoy and Jensen Creeks, the property lies within the watershed of the South Fork Snake River and is a critical location for efforts to restore the  native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. It also provides vital wildlife connectivity within the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

The Conservation Fund has protected tens of thousands of acres within the Greater Yellowstone Area. Click here to learn more about our work in this one-of-a-kind region.

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