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Forest protects Alpine area in-holding

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Using funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest has permanently protected 315 acres of private land within forest boundaries.

Known as the McCoy Creek property, the land is about two miles west of Palisades Reservoir near Alpine, Wyo.  The in-holding was previously approved for the development of eleven homes and was part of a controversial land exchange proposal.

Forest officials said the purchase will keep homes away from areas prone to wildfire and, as a result, minimize the cost to taxpayers for fighting forest fires.

"This particular private inholding has been a high priority for the Caribou-Targhee National Forest to acquire," stated Tracy Hollingshead, ranger for the Palisades Ranger District. "This acquisition will provide additional recreational opportunities for the public and reduce the potential for future conflicts."

According to The Conservation Fund, the property provides essential access to the area's popular recreational opportunities. It contains 25 acres of wetlands, McCoy and Jensen Creeks, and is critical habitat for Yellowstone cutthroat trout restoration. The ground also provides wildlife connectivity within the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

The Land and Water Conservation Funding was approved by Congress with assistance from The Conservation Fund. 

The LWCF is a federal program that uses a percentage of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties to acquire critical lands and protect natural resources.

The land was acquired from Savit Associates, represented by the Halpin family in Jackson, Wyo. The family had been seeking a permanent conservation easement.

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