SHERIDAN — Local landowners, the Sheridan Community Land Trust and several other agencies worked together to finalize a 528-acre conservation easement near the town of Clearmont on Tuesday.
The easement, located on land owned by Mark and Kim Tenneson, promises to protect working agricultural lands, open space, wildlife habitat and scenic views for future generations. The agreement also incorporates an historic preservation easement on the Doc Huson homestead, one of a handful of remaining rock homes built by early settlers in the late 1800s with stone quarried from nearby hills.
The project came to fruition thanks to financial contributions from several groups, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and The Conservation Fund, according to an SCLT press release.
The Tennesons’ property is located along Clear Creek and is bisected by U.S. Highway 14-16. The property is made up of irrigated agricultural land to the east of the highway along Clear Creek and sagebrush rangeland in the hills west of the highway.
“We want to thank Mark and Kim for their sincere commitment to conservation and historic preservation,” SCLT Board President Susanna Meyer said. “Because of their generous foresight, this property’s productive agricultural lands, rich history and unmistakable character will remain for the benefit of future generations.”
The conservation easement on the property permanently protects more than two miles of valuable riparian habitat associated with Clear Creek and Ulm Creek. The property also lies within a half-mile of the designated Sage Grouse Corridor/Core area for Sheridan County with roughly half the property comprised of sagebrush steppe and grasslands.
Healthy populations of mule deer and pronghorn use the property as well as sharp-tail grouse. Migrating waterfowl species use the riparian habitat along Clear Creek. The fishery in this section of Clear Creek supports both cold and warm water species. Also, the area is an important roosting area for eagles and summer nesting habitat for ospreys.
In addition to its conservation values, the property has an interesting history. Originally, it was the site of Native American activity associated with travel along Clear Creek as part of the Powder River Basin hunting and gathering area.
In 1888, Sarah Pattengill formally settled it and built the historic stone homestead that is still standing on the property today. Edward “Doc” Huson, Pattengill’s son-in-law, bought the original 160-acre property from her in 1893.
For a limited time, the homestead was a post office and stage stop for the Black and Yellow stage line from Buffalo to Moorcroft. In addition to being the home of the Husons and their 16 children, it was used for a time as Doc Huson’s medical business. Over the years, multiple landowners added to the original acreage.
The historic preservation easement will preserve the home’s historic exterior and SCLT will complete a physical (and digital) interpretive display to capture the story of the home to be shared with the public and preserved through time.
Since being established in 2006, SCLT has protected nearly 3,000 acres in Sheridan County in partnership with landowners. SCLT utilizes conservation easements and historic preservation easements to help landowners meet their personal goals for their properties, while accomplishing the land trust’s mission.
SCLT works to preserve open spaces, working ranches, wildlife habitat, healthy rivers and streams and historic sites while expanding non-motorized recreation opportunities to connect people with the places they love.