2017 Ends with New Conservation Projects in Big Sky and Gooch Hill Area

We closed out 2017 with a bang, completing two new conservation projects that protect scenic and productive open land from future development, in two very different, but significant conservation project areas.

The Dogterom Family donated a conservation easement on 253 acres of agricultural open space in the Gooch Hill area. The easement limits development on the property and permanently protects the quality soils, scenic value, and wildlife habitat. The land has been in agricultural production since the 1800’s, and its rich agricultural heritage motivated the family to protect its availability for farming forever. The property is currently irrigated hay and cropland (alfalfa, barley, and wheat) as well as grassland pasture. The Gooch Hill area is highly scenic, enjoyed by many from nearby public lands or popular county roads such as South Cottonwood Road. And it’s near other conserved properties in the Gooch Hill focus area, 11 GVLT easements are within 5 miles. For anyone who has driven through the area, the working farms contribute to the sweeping scenic vistas and rural character of the area.

Thanks to the Dogterom Family’s generosity, 253 acres of the landscape will remain that way forever. Daphne Gillam says, “This easement is in honor of my mother who loved this land. She took joy at turning to see every mountain range that surrounds the valley, of sitting in the shade of the massive cottonwood groves that were fed by the mountain stream, of gazing over the waves of grain, of seeing lush hay fields and cattle grazing. This preserved land is to remind us of the productivity and beauty that open space gives.” Her brother Dana agrees, “Our family heritage was built on agriculture and grain elevators. It is important for us to respect, protect and acknowledge the importance of land.  Gooch Hill starts on this conservation easement spreading north into the “ Valley of Flowers” which disappearing. We look forward to GVLT’s stewardship, preservation of the agricultural way of life, open space and protection of native habitat.”

GVLT staff also worked diligently with the Pessl Family at year end, adding an additional 10 acres to their existing conservation easement in Big Sky. In 2007 the family protected 190 acres of forest land and open meadows, protecting exceptional wildlife habitat and generations of family memories along with it. The Pessl Family generously donated the additional 10 acres to their conservation easement.

In 2016 GVLT produced a short film with the Pessl Family, sharing the rich history of the property, family memories and their motives for protecting it. Check out their Stories from the Land.