WSGLT, ag groups conserve Bear Trap Meadows under recently-completed conservation easement
Cattlemen, woolgrowers, anglers, hikers and hunters will continue to enjoy Bear Trap Meadows in the Big Horn Mountains, thanks to a conservation easement completed by the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust (WSGLT) with the support of Johnson County ag organizations, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The project conserves a historic stock rest in western Johnson County that has been used by agricultural producers for almost a century.
Located high in the southern Big Horn Mountains near the headwaters of Bear Trap Creek, ranchers in the region rely on the area as a stopover for rest for their cattle and sheep while driving them to summer grazing pastures.
More than 20,000 head of livestock trail through annually, benefitting from the area’s plentiful water and forage. Under the terms of the agreement, the land and the stock rest will be conserved in perpetuity.
The appeal of Bear Trap Meadows extends beyond agricultural uses. According to landowner Bruce Pheasant, a Kaycee rancher, hundreds of recreational users from the U.S. and abroad enjoy the landscape each year, including its remarkable trout fishing.
Through the “bargain sale” of a conservation easement, the Pheasant family will preserve the property in its current and historic use as a stock rest.
The Pheasant family generously donated a significant portion of the fair market value of the conservation easement, and the partners listed above contributed to the reduced purchase price.
In addition, the family has worked out an agreement with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department that allows the public to continue to fish on the property.
“It’s a little piece of paradise,” Pheasant said. “The easement is going to help so many people in so many ways.”
Bear Trap Meadows is about 30 miles from Kaycee and is accessed by roads from Kaycee, Buffalo, Ten Sleep and Casper.
“This land plays such a central role in so many peoples’ lives,” Pheasant said. “The conservation easement is not just for me or my family. It’s for everyone to enjoy.”
For more information, visit the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust at wsglt.org.