Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Rock Creek Ranch Hoedown

Editor's note: This year, Rock Creek Ranch was purchased by the Wood River Land Trust and the Conservancy from the Rinker family. Working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the ranch was protected from development by a permanent grassland conservation easement.

by Caroline Clawson, development assistant

On June 26th The Nature Conservancy and Wood River Land Trust hosted a community hoedown at the red barn in Rock Creek Canyon. We came together to celebrate an exciting protection success that will permanently protect the 10,400-acre Rock Creek property in the Wood River Valley.

Rock Creek landscape © Caroline Clawson

Homesteaders (the Stewart family and the Schmidt family) living on the land in the 1920s and 30s, along with some of their family members, joined as to celebrate and were honored during the festivities. It was profound to see the pride that showed on their faces knowing that one of the largest remaining parcels in our valley will be protected for perpetuity. 

Rock Creek homesteaders and family © DJ Muehle

Collaboration between partners such as the Conservancy, Wood River Land Trust, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and private landowners such as the Rinker family, will enhance the protection of habitat for sage grouse and other wildlife by creating large swaths of protected and connected land, while leaving the land accessible for recreation and public access. 

Nick and Sharon Purdy with Toni Hardesty © DJ Muehle

Hoedown highlights: 
  •  Toni Hardesty, Idaho State Director lassoing a steer-roping dummy
  • Trying my hand at hatchet target practice; it’s harder than it looks 
  •  Enjoying the music of the Kim Stocking Band with supporters

Enjoying the music © Sunny Healey
  • Dining on baked beans served from an old-fashioned dutch oven
  • Seeing two moose in a long trot through the field next to the barn as the sky filled with colorful sunset
As I enjoyed the evening, I realized the lasting value of this accomplishment. For the years to come Rock Creek will be special place for both nature and people. Protection of this magnitude humbles me and makes the day-to-day work that I do meaningful.