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Conservation easement to protect long-held property

SANDPOINT – A Bonner County family is protecting their 643 acres of private forestland from future development through a conservation easement.

The acreage has been in Jim and Virginia Wood’s family for more than 70 years. The family will continue to own the land – raising cattle, harvesting timber and recreating there – but the property cannot be subdivided.

Robb McCracken, executive director of the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille Conservancy, said the Woods operate a model cattle ranch and timber operation. Located in the Grouse Creek and Gold Creek drainages, the property also has high wildlife values, he said.

“This very scenic land is next to the national forest, and it provides critical habitat and a wildlife corridor for elk, moose, bear and many other wildlife,” he said.

Streams on the property also provide habitat for bull trout and cutthroat trout.

In addition to the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Lands were instrumental in helping the Wood family set up the conservation easement.

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