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Land Trust of the Treasure Valley seeks $100K to acquire 320 acres of land in foothills

South Fork Willow Creek is east of Avimor and has open space, recreation property, and wildlife habitats.

BOISE, Idaho — The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley (LTTV) is campaigning to raise $100,000 in donations to buy 320 acres of open space in the Boise foothills, east of Avimor.

The property is called South Fork Willow Creek. To purchase it, the LTTV will need to raise the money by the closing date on October 28.

"It's defiantly some prime real estate. That's why we want to step up to the plate and see it protected forever," Eric Grace, executive director for the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley said.

The land sits in the foothills between Stack Rock and Avimor. The effort to buy South Fork Willow Creek is the largest land-conservation campaign the nonprofit has undertaken since 2010.

The current landowner of the property is looking to sell the area, but keep it open to the public.

"Our primary purpose at the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley is to work with private landowners, like the owners of this property who are selling it, to find ways to do permanent land protection," Grace said. "This is an opportunity for us, it's an ongoing campaign that we always have. That's the purpose for the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, to protect the land. To find a balance to the rampant growth that's currently happening here in this region."

The property features areas with trails and open space. The landscape is similar to much of the foothills, with sagebrush and rock formations. The property also serves as a key winter range for several species. 

"This is a really important wintering habitat for both elk and deer," Grace said. "There are signs of black bears using the property as well. And it's also a really important sagebrush habitat...So it will add to a larger network of permanently protected land for habitat purposes and wildlife purposes." 

The purchase price of the land is $250,000. A total of $172,000 has been pledged to the project so far.

The LTTV is relying on donations through the public to raise $100,000 to comfortably make the purchase. 

"We're really excited by this project because these opportunities come very seldom," Grace said. "Where you have a willing land owner who wants to see their property protected. As we know, development in the Treasure Valley now is at levels we've never seen before, also our property values are at levels we've never seen before. To have an opportunity to acquire 320 acres for $250,000 is a rare opportunity. That's why we are so excited about this and we feel we need to work on this as quickly as we possibly can."

The land north and east of the property is owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM has bought land from LTTV before and could buy this property next year, however, they are not able to commit to buying the land until early next year.

In either case, the property would be kept maintained and open to the public.

"We need to step up to the plate and secure it so it doesn't go to a developer and turn into 320 house sites," Grace said.

The LTTV says they are not anti-growth, and appreciate the work developers have been doing in the quickly-growing Avimor area.

"This is just a good opportunity to protect some really important land," Grace said.

You can contribute to the campaign and donate on the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley's website.

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