Habitat Stewardship in Idaho's Swan Valley

Look Near Before You Look Far

One of the lessons I have learned over and over while elk hunting is ‘look near before you look far.’ In other words, make sure there are no animals right in front of you before you step out into the open to glass the faraway ridges and slopes. I have found both looking near and far are both effective and important strategies in elk hunting.

This past month I had the opportunity to ‘work both far and near’ in my role on the ID BHA boards. First, I was invited to travel to Washington, DC and second I was involved with helping to organize an exciting stewardship project on Pine Creek Bench in eastern Idaho. Although these were two very different events, it turns out they had a distinct connection.

Through my role on the ID BHA board I joined a fly-in to Washington, DC organized by the Land and Water Conservation Coalition and supported by The Trust for Public Land. I had the opportunity to meet with members of the Idaho delegation and their staff to discuss continued support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).


I first learned about the LWCF as I began working with the BLM in eastern ID to help organize a stewardship project on Pine Creek Bench near Swan Valley, ID. The projects were to involve habitat restoration (bitterbrush/sagebrush planting and fence removal) on a parcel of land that was acquired thru the BLM with funds from the LWCF. This parcel and the subsequent habitat restoration is on critical migration and winter range.

In my meetings in Washington, DC I was able to share stories and examples of the critical habitat that has been protected in my own backyard thru the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

This past weekend ID BHA volunteers alongside representatives from the BLM and ID Fish and Game stayed busy with multiple stewardship projects on Pine Creek Bench. All in all, a team of about 20 folks planted 2700 bitterbrush, 300 sagebrush, and pulled about a mile of decommissioned fence. It was amazing to join the BLM in their ongoing habitat restoration work, especially on this critical habitat.

Seedlings being prepped for planting 

It was an incredible opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to share stories of how the LWCF has helped to protect critical habitat in my backyard. It was even better to follow that up with a collaborative stewardship project. This project would not have been possible without initial LWCF funding and then the efforts of the BLM, ID Fish and Game, and BHA volunteers.

Barbed Wire and T-posts removed from one section of fence


Thank you to the BLM for their ongoing restoration work in this area and North Fork Native Plants for the donation of the seedlings. In addition, we are very appreciative of Jetboil, OnX and Dometic for their continued support of BHA's Habitat Stewardship mission.

About Don Carpenter

Don serves as the Eastern ID Co Chair for the Idaho Chapter and has always had a passion for backcountry travel as a means for exploration of wild places. He is grateful for the many opportunities to spend time outdoors, locally and afar, with his family.

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