The Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust (WSGLT) completed a conservation easement project on a portion of the Woolery Ranch in Fremont County with funding assistance from the USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust (WWNRT). The conservation easement covers 1,880 acres of deeded agricultural land and borders another conserved property as well as public land.
Eric Schacht, Conservation Director for the WSGLT commented on the closing saying, “This project has provided the Woolery Ranch with the opportunity to expand their agricultural operation and it also conserves key wildlife habitat. We would like to thank our funding partners and the Woolery family for their commitment to this conservation easement project.”
The Woolery Ranch is located south of the city of Lander and the conservation of this ranch ensures that open space will remain unencumbered in perpetuity. The property is home to crucial moose habitat as well as sage grouse habitat, and is adjacent to mule deer and elk crucial habitats.
Bob Budd of WWNRT spoke about the importance of habitat conservation, “This is another great example of a longtime Wyoming agricultural family choosing to retain the legacy and opportunity for ranching, watershed enhancement and wildlife habitat long into the future. This easement connects to a much larger landscape renowned for its mule deer, Sage-grouse, antelope and other species iconic of Wyoming. Congratulations to the Woolery family and thanks to the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust for making this happen.”
The Woolery family has been in Fremont County for nearly 90 years, and utilizes the conserved property as an important part of their larger operation. Although the land has historically been used for the grazing of sheep, the Woolery family grazes cattle on the property. The ranches’ history is apparent with sheepherders’ monuments visible on the hills and ridges overlooking Beaver Creek. Additionally, the Mormon and Oregon National Historic Trails are within 3 miles of the property.
Clyde Woolery, president of the Woolery Ranch, commented on the closing by saying, “Woolery Ranch has entered into a WSGLT conservation easement on a portion of our summer range. Money realized from the easement was used to purchase land adjoining our winter operation. This helped balance our needs with our summer grazing. We enjoyed working with the WSGLT in making this easement possible.”
The project marks the third agricultural property to be conserved by WSGLT in Fremont County, with the total conserved acreage nearing 3,000 acres in the County. The USDA–Natural Resources Conservation Service has assisted in the funding of 32 projects in partnership with the WSGLT and WWNRT has worked with the organization to match funds on 34 projects. By working with these partners WSGLT is able to conserve agricultural land across the state and work with farmers and ranchers to keep the future of agriculture bright in Wyoming
Astrid Martinez, Wyoming State Conservationist with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, commented, “We are very excited to close another conservation easement with WSGLT under our Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. We are honored with the partnership with WSGLT and their dedication to preserve Wyoming’s agricultural lands for future generations. Partnerships like this make easements possible. The conservation easement will help protect our natural resources, open spaces, as well as America’s heritage.”
The Woolery ranch brings the total agricultural land conserved by the WSGLT to 254,670 acres. The conservation of properties like the Woolery Ranch reap benefits for the farming and ranching families in Wyoming, as well as the general public who enjoy the products of Wyoming agriculture, the state’s beautiful open-spaces and wildlife habitat.