Land at the base of Snow King Mountain has been preserved by the Jackson Hole Land Trust, which secured a $26,000 conservation easement with help from the town of Jackson earlier this month.
The easement brings the Flat Creek Corridor Project one step closer to completion.
Town leaders bought the easement on 2 acres from developer Mike Halpin, increasing the total amount of land now protected to 34 acres. About 40 acres of wildlife habitat will be conserved through the deal when it is complete.
The Flat Creek corridor will be implemented in segments over five years.
While other land trust work, such as the conservation of Karns Meadow in 2003, has been more visible to the public, this project is equally important, trust staff said.
“Flat Creek is kind of the unsung hero,” said Laurie Andrews, trust executive director.
The area is considered crucial year-round habitat for mule deer. It connects the 41 acres of Karns Meadow with the Town Hill. The land is located south of Flat Creek, downstream from the 810 West development.
But securing the property also will ensure public access to many of the paths that crisscross Snow King, including the Sink or Swim Trail.
“This was another component to help extend that corridor,” Andrews said. “It’s about that face of Snow King. We often assume that’s public land. This keeps the open space.”
Halpin has donated and sold portions of the land to the town. Phases of the deal have been completed each year. More acreage will be added in 2013.
The project is part of more than 100 acres the town has conserved within its boundaries during the tenure of Mayor Mark Barron.
“If you’re going to create density, it’s important to have very high-quality open space,” Barron said of the project. “Flat Creek corridor is pristine riparian habitat and home to high quality fisheries and water fowl.”