Future natural park.

Multi-generation cottonwood galleries line Goose Creek within the future natural park.

A 30-acre property located on the north end of Sheridan along Goose Creek is slated to be protected as open space in 2016.

Project Background
In 2005-6, Sheridan’s Mayor Dave Kinskey was one of several community members instrumental in creating our organization. He had a vision of how a land trust could benefit the community as a versatile and independent nonprofit, filling a niche between public and private policy, planning, and infrastructure development.

At one of our first meetings with the Mayor, he specifically identified this acreage as a priority for conservation, but it was out of reach for the City to purchase due to the high property value. The property had been identified in the 2008 North Main Master Plan as an ideal natural area that would further enhance the northern gateway into downtown Sheridan and protect intact riparian habitat and wetland areas that function as active floodplain controls for Goose Creek. Since that time, the property has remained on SCLT’s radar, but we lacked the right mix of partners and funders to move forward with conservation options.

GatewayPkMap_webWe continued to brainstorm new options and strategies every few months to see if any new opportunities were available. In late 2014, The Nature Conservancy, a valued SCLT partner, introduced a new grant program that prioritized community conservation projects in Wyoming, made possible through TNC’s partnership with the LOR Foundation of Jackson, Wyoming.

SCLT and TNC began working in earnest during the spring of 2015 to identify a way forward and were fortunate to find that in addition to The Nature Conservancy and LOR Foundation, the Homer and Mildred Scott Foundation, the Foundation for Community Vitality, and the City of Sheridan were also potentially interested in partnering.

On December 18, 2015, Community Impact, LLC purchased the 30+/- acre property. Community Impact, LLC is a local entity, with 2/3 ownership by the Homer & Mildred Scott Foundation and 1/3 ownership by the Foundation for Community Vitality. They generously agreed to step in to secure and hold the property while SCLT and our partners raise funds to purchase the development value of the property through a purchased conservation easement.

This project is quickly becoming an illustration of how communities can think outside the box to achieve conservation goals. We are looking forward to the next 8-10 months as we work with committed partners to complete this project.

Project Highlights:
– Acquire 30+/- acres of public open space and prime wildlife habitat.
– Protect valuable riparian habitat and floodplain within the Tongue River watershed.
– Provide a unique outdoor classroom to engage students of all ages.

If you or an organization you are involved with would like to join our growing list of partners to be part of this project, please let us know. Email director@yvo.7d4.myftpupload.com or call Colin at (307) 673 – 4702. Thank you!