The BLM’s Shoshone Field Office together with The Nature Conservancy have secured a conservation easement on a large ranch in the Pioneer Mountain foothills near Carey.
According to The Nature Conservancy, the Cenarrusa Ranch and the areas surrounding it contain important habitat and migration corridors for a myriad of wildlife, including big game and sage grouse. The easement protects 7,691 acres of private land from development and ensures public access on 3.16 miles of motorized and nonmotorized routes to public land.
“Expanding access to public lands and outdoor recreational opportunities is among the BLM’s highest priorities,” said William Perry Pendley, the BLM’s deputy director for programs and policy. “This easement is part and parcel of that commitment and preserves a vital part of the West’s heritage for future generations.”
The easement was purchased with $2.5 million from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is generated from royalties from offshore oil leases. The project was selected for funding based on a proposal to the U.S. Department of the Interior from the High Divide Collaborative, a partnership of public land managers, state wildlife agencies, landowners, local community leaders, scientists and conservation groups working to conserve and restore lands of importance in Idaho and western Montana.
The Nature Conservancy in Idaho stated that it and the Shoshone Field Office had worked for the past several years to ensure the conservation of the property.
“I’m really proud of this project—the acquisition of this conservation easement is significant as we have now secured public access for recreation and hunting opportunities,” said Shoshone Field Manager Codie Martin. “By working together, we have guaranteed a working ranch and farm will always be what it is today and the local economy will be able to continue to depend on its agriculture and livestock production.”
Tess O’Sullivan, Hailey-based conservation manager for The Nature Conservancy in Idaho, said one of the farthest pronghorn migration routes in the West—more than 160 miles round trip—crosses the ranch.
“It’s the kind of place that makes Idaho Idaho,” O’Sullivan said. “In a time of much change for the state, we are thankful to keep this area intact and we’re grateful to everyone who helped make this happen.”
According to The Nature Conservancy, the Cenarrusa Ranch is among the largest of several private ranches that have been conserved by the Pioneers Alliance within the vast area between the Pioneer Mountains and Craters of the Moon National Monument.
“The open space, wildlife, water, agriculture and recreation found in this area are vital to the economies, communities and visitors to south-central Idaho,” the organization stated.