Leaving a Legacy of Land and History in the Clear Creek Valley

Mark and Kim Tenneson, dairy farmers from western Washington, spent years searching for the right agricultural property in Wyoming or Nebraska. When they set foot on a 528-acre property along Clear Creek in eastern Sheridan County in 2009, they said “it felt like home” and made the decision to purchase it.

Even though Mark and Kim were thrilled with their new property, they had some decisions to make as the property was in tough shape when they made the purchase. In addition, they needed to decide what to do about the old stone home on the property – the Doc Huson Homestead built in 1888.

Due to liability concerns, the Tennesons were seriously considering demolishing the historic structure. Fortunately, SCLT was able to connect with Mark and Kim to discuss the opportunities available to them to protect their property with a conservation easement while preserving the historic Doc Huson Homestead with a historic preservation easement.

SCLT is always excited to pursue valuable projects that accomplish multiple aspects of our mission, so after talking with the Tennesons we immediately began exploring funding options that would allow us to purchase a conservation easement from Mark and Kim and incorporate an historic easement on the Doc Huson Homestead.

Thanks to funding from a diverse group of partners, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund (WCTF), the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust (WWNRT), The Conservation Fund, several local foundations, and of course members like you, SCLT was able to do just that. We closed on the project in partnership with the Tenneson family on June 23, 2015.

The Tenneson’s property is made up of irrigated agricultural land to the east of US Hwy 14-16 along Clear Creek and beautiful rolling sagebrush hills west of the highway. The conservation easement protects both important wildlife habitat and working agricultural lands.

“We want to thank Mark and Kim for their sincere commitment to conservation and historic preservation. Because of their generous foresight, this property’s productive agricultural lands, rich history and unmistakable character will remain for the benefit of future generations,” says Susanna Meyer, Board President.

Migrating waterfowl use the roughly two miles of riparian habitat along Clear Creek and Ulm Creek and healthy populations of mule deer and pronghorn also call the property home. In addition, the property lies within ½ mile of Wyoming’s designated Sage Grouse Connectivity Corridor area, with roughly half the property comprised of sagebrush steppe and grasslands, prime habitat for sage grouse. Also, the area is an important roosting area for eagles and summer nesting habitat for ospreys.

In addition to the property’s conservation values, there is a wonderful history tied to this property well worth preserving. Pre-settlement, Native Americans traveled through the area along Clear Creek to access their Powder River Basin hunting and gathering sites.

In 1888, Sarah Pattengill filed a homestead on the property and her son-in-law, Edward “Doc” Huson and his two sons built the stone homestead that is still standing today. Doc bought the original 160-acre property from her in 1893, giving it its namesake. Subsequent owners then added to the original acreage.

“It is wonderful to know that my grandfather’s historic homestead and surrounding ranchland will remain as we know it today so that our region’s rich heritage will be experienced by future generations,” says Lois Hall, Doc Huson’s granddaughter.

We are thrilled to be able to protect such a special corner of Sheridan County for the benefit future generations and would like to thank everyone who made this project possible!

Brad BauerLeaving a Legacy of Land and History in the Clear Creek Valley