The Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) and Teton Raptor Center (TRC) announced today that the 27-acre iconic conservation property of Hardeman Barns in Wilson, Wyoming, has transferred to TRC.
In 1989, a groundswell of community support generated $1.7 million in 4 months to enable the JHLT to purchase the historic Hardeman Barns, safeguarding the property from a dense 70-unit subdivision. At the same time, a conservation easement was placed on the property. In February 2016, the JHLT amended the Hardeman Barns conservation easement, extinguishing the allowance for a single-family home site and placing additional restrictions for use and development on the property. With these changes, the original intention for the site was solidified and the protection of conservation values was strengthened. The amendment does not affect TRC’s daily operations, but provides clarifications and guidance for future site improvements and use.
The Land Trust strives to balance community needs with wildlife and agricultural use, and the property of Hardeman Barns aligns perfectly with that vision. When protected in 1989, the intention for the property was to create a central space that would be used by local nonprofit organizations with educational components to their work. Since 1989, the site has been home to the Snake River Institute, the Teton County 4-H Club, and since 2008, the Teton Raptor Center
Teton Raptor Center, founded in 1997 by wildlife biologists Roger Smith and Margaret Creel, has a long history of caring for birds of prey in Teton County. The opportunity to lease space at the Hardeman Barns enabled TRC to deepen its work to advance raptor conservation through educational programs, field research, and rehabilitative care for injured, ill, and orphaned birds of prey.
The highly visible and historic Hardeman Barns property is a symbol of Jackson Hole’s rural character and ranching heritage. As an important scenic property situated along the heavily travelled Highway 22, Hardeman Barns greatly enhances Wilson’s agricultural setting and identity, just 6 miles west of the Town of Jackson. In 2015, the Hardeman Barns property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “The ultimate vision was to utilize the iconic space as a hub for nonprofit organizations that give back to the local community through education and research,” explains Jackson Hole Land Trust President Laurie Andrews. “The Teton Raptor Center fulfills that vision completely, and is beloved by the Jackson community.”
Teton Raptor Center’s goal is to promote conservation through raptor rehabilitation, educational programs, and field research. TRC engages local and global communities to provide meaningful education about the needs of raptors and the benefits of healthy ecosystems and supportive habitats for wildlife and humans.
“It’s an honor to create a permanent home for raptor conservation in a community that cares so much about wildlife and to do so on property with its own rich conservation history,” said Teton Raptor Center Executive Director Amy Brennan McCarthy. “Hardeman Barns is a treasured place and we look forward to working with the Land Trust on its continued stewardship and to enhancing our capacity to help more birds and educate students of all ages about the wonders of the natural world through the eyes of birds of prey.”
In the hands of the Teton Raptor Center, Hardeman Barns will remain a community asset and will continue to be stewarded by the Jackson Hole Land Trust to ensure all provisions of the conservation easement are being upheld. Should the TRC decide to sell the property in the future, the JHLT will have the ability to repurchase the property and guarantee that the community’s vision is upheld.
Both the Jackson Hole Land Trust and the Teton Raptor Center are excited about the transfer and are committed to working together to steward the conservation values and community vision of this iconic Wilson, Wyoming property.