Wildlife migration routes protected near this “working ranch”-

It was a wonderful thing when the Nature Conservancy purchased most of Henry’s Lake Flat in the 1970s to protect Henry’s Lake Outlet (stream), which is a major component of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River headwaters. This also protected much of the sometimes beautiful flat from what would probably be very obnoxious sub-divisions.

The Conservancy fenced off Henry’s Lake Outlet from cattle, and its banks have been restored. However, they could have removed the cattle from the the flat. As a result the dominant use of the flat is cattle, not wildlife.  These compromises were made no doubt to please the Fremont County Commission. I’m not impressed with this “working ranch” stuff. When you drive by on the highway to West Yellowstone you can sometimes see deer and pronghorn . . . sandhill crane too, but overwhelmingly you see a flat full of cows.

The other day I stopped by and took a photo of this for Google Earth. Idaho “wildife” 😉 on Henry’s Lake Flat. View is to the east.

It’s good to see a little more protection for wildlife in the area has now been obtained. Here is the news release from the Nature Conservancy. Conservation Easement Protects Henry’s Lake Ranch

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to Island Park, Idaho: Nature Conservancy. A bit more protection for their Henry's Lake Project

  1. avatar Barrie Gilbert says:

    Thanks Ralph. I could not agree with you more about all the crap about working ranches. All my experience in Utah led me to the conclusion that ranching degraded sage grouse habitat, competed with ungulates, killed predators and still was viewed as providing a greenbelt for developed areas. We need to have a serous analysis as to whether cattle in the West can support a modern family lifestyle with new half-tons and sending kids to college, etc.
    I’ll vote for the Western Watersheds vision every time.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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