DRIGGS, Idaho -

A new conservation easement will preserve nearly 400 acres along the Teton River valley, including three quarters of a mile of the riverbank itself. 

The Teton Regional Land Trust said the property, known as the Three Forks Ranch, lies along a stretch of the river between the Bates Bridge and the Idaho Fish and Game Department Access at "Big Eddy".  The land is owned by Nancy Hamill Winter and her family.

The easement will forever protect the land from subdivision and large scale development.   Idaho Fish and Game Department Upper Snake Regional Supervisor Steve Schmidt said the Three Forks Ranch easement and other protected parcels around it conserve important habitat for many wildlife species including elk, moose, Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, bald eagle, and Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.

The Land Trust said the property is one of the few remaining gaps in the protected land already conserved along the Teton River.  There are a cluster of 16 other easements that now create seven miles of uninterrupted river protection.