WSGLT celebrates 20 years
The Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) voted to form the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust (WSGLT) during their winter convention in the year 2000. This year, WSGLT celebrates their 20th anniversary of conserving agricultural lands.
Rob Hendry, who served as WSGA president when the WSGLT was formed, along with Mark Eisle, the inaugural chair of WSGLT, both shared the land trust came from humble beginnings with the goal of being a strictly agricultural land trust for keeping working farmers and ranchers on the land.
“At the time, a number of small, regional land trusts were being contemplated and one, single agricultural land trust appeared to be the best solution to achieve everyone’s goals,” said WSGLT Interim Executive Director and Conservation Director Tate Smith. “The first easement completed was the Sheeprock Ranch in Saratoga, and since that easement was completed in 2001, the land trust now holds easements on 104 properties.”
Smith explained on the property easements more than 284,000 acres are held in conservation, including 29,000 acres of migration corridors, 32,000 acres of mule deer habitat, 105,000 acres of sage grouse habitat and 85 miles of riparian corridor. Most importantly, Smith shares 280,000 acres of habitat for one of the most threatened species in the country – the American farmer and rancher – have been preserved.
“For the 79 families who own and operate our ranches, the easement is a guarantee their hard work will be protected,” Smith said. “It’s a guarantee their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be afforded the opportunity to find their purpose and their place on these landscapes. We are very proud to provide this service and carry the burden of holding these easements for many generations to come.”
Smith and the WSGLT would like to thank everyone who has shared support and made the land trust a success, including those who have served on the board.
“In the past 20 years, a wide array of passionate, hardworking individuals have served on this board, and each one has supported the land trust and moved it forward towards success,” he continued. “Thank you to the WSGA and its membership for that important vote in Casper in 2000, and thank you to all who have supported us in the 20 years since. We are excited for the next 20 years and the amazing impact we will have on Wyoming and our landscapes.”